We have a couple of important anniversaries coming up! Later this month we will be celebrating 60 years of Franciscan witness at Alnmouth Friary. Towards the end of the year, Hilfield will be marking its centenary! We will keep you updated with all the events surrounding these two joyful occasions.
During the course of the pandemic we have all had to make substantial adjustments to the way we live whilst trying to maintain as much ‘normality’ as possible. For many Sisters and Brothers this has meant getting to grips with communication platforms like Zoom or Skype. Br Joe (currently on extended sick leave) has enjoyed being able to use this technology to preach, lead quiet days, give spiritual accompaniment and, much to his delight, to provide input for collective worship for a group of schools in Oxfordshire – and all from his study in Edinburgh. He looks forward to speaking to them about St Francis as part of their collective worship (also via Zoom)!
The Church Times reports today (15th July) that those who racially abused members of the England football squad have been condemned strongly by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and General Synod. A statement issued by Synod reads: “… we wish to express our deep disappointment and concern that the achievement [of the England team] has been marred by disgraceful racial abuse.”
The Sisters and Brothers unequivocally endorse this statement and uphold in prayer all who stand against racism and discrimination. Here is a picture of our Bishop Protector (Bishop Christopher of Southwark)’ ‘taking the knee’ in Walworth last year following the tragic murder of George Floyd.
UPDATE: HILFIELD FRIARY NOW ACCEPTING SELF-CATERING GUESTS.
Hilfield Friary is now able to welcome guests on a self-catering basis at Bernard House and Juniper House. Please phone Suzi on 01300 341741 or email email@example.com for further information..
We will of course keep you updated as lockdown restrictions ease. In the meantime you are welcome to use the information on our Hospitality page for future reference, and to contact our houses for further information.
The funeral of Raymond Christian SSF took place today at the parish church of Saint John the Baptist, Alnmouth. Raymond adored church music and was a talented musician, so the church organ was used to great effect before and during the service. He was also a great lover of flowers and a talented flower arranger, and the many floral tributes reflected this lifelong passion of his.
Benedict presided at the Requiem Mass, and also gave the homily. After the service a hymn was sung outside the church, followed by a procession through the village.
This week the Brothers at Plaistow have been hosting Irfeel and Katarina from the Community of Saint Anselm. Yesterday Sam and Tobias took them to visit Emmanuel Church in Forest Gate. Rev’d Dr Chigor Chike and Father Barnabas Matloob told us about Faithful Friends, a wonderful interfaith project in that part of Newham.
This was followed by a visit to the Minhaj-ul-Quran mosque just across the street. Muhammad Zeeshan Qadri is the director of the mosque, and he spoke about the various projects close to his heart, particularly the importance of interfaith friendship, countering extremism and fostering mutual respect. It was inspirational to see the many welfare projects run by the mosque, including offering their space to host a weekly Covid vaccination clinic.
The sunshine held out at Alnmouth today, as Brother Finnian made his First Profession with the Society of Saint Francis.
During his noviciate, Finnian has been dedicated to assisting others who are exploring a vocation to the Religious Life, in addition to his voluntary work with various charitable projects in Leeds and London.
Today’s ceremony also marked a joyful reunion for many of our Brothers after a long period of lockdown. We hope and pray that the situation will continue to improve, and that we will be able to steadily re-develop our in-person ministries safely and effectively.
Brother Benedict writes: “It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that our Brother Raymond Christian died in the The North Tyneside Hospital this evening [April 28th]. Raymond was born on 2nd December 1936, was professed in SSF on 14th November 1983, and eventually made his Life Profession on 21st February 1987. He has lived at a number of our houses – at Hilfield, at Hooke School, Glasshampton, Cambridge, Belfast, Edinburgh, and has been at Alnmouth Friary since 2019.
Details of his funeral will be given in due course.
Rest eternal grant to him O Lord and let light perpetual shine upon him.”