By Fr Brian McMahon
Assistant Priest at St Joseph’s Church, Stevenage
On Friday 26th of January, children of St Vincent de Paul Primary School in Stevenage, gathered outside the Church of St Joseph’s along with Headteacher Jon White, school staff, and parishioners to celebrate a historic event.
The occasion was the raising of a new statue of the Risen Christ and its attachment to the front of the church building. This was part of the finishing works for St Joseph’s, which had reopened in 2017, following its closure whilst it was rebuilt. Earlier in the week each class had written a special prayer for the Church’s celebration of Adoremus: Eucharistic Congress, held in 2018 at Liverpool. These prayers were included on a long scroll which also contained a personal drawing of each pupil’s face, placed inside a sealed tube and then securely attached to the inside of the statue. Effectively this acts as a time capsule for future generations to enjoy.
The children sang ‘We will raise him up’ and ‘On this church your blessing Lord’ as the statue was raised slowly and carefully into place, against the background of many ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs!’ A short prayer service was held just before the statue was raised when it was blessed by Frs Michael Doherty and Brian McMahon, assisted by seminarian, Mike Guthrie.
This statue, with the work to be done to additional spotlighting at the front of the church, will make St Joseph’s one of the most visible landmarks in this part of Stevenage for many years to come and make Christ the centre of the community as the parish continues to thrive.