For us in St. Anselm’s Parish Church here in Tooting Bec with our diverse parish community we came together on Saturday night 9th July 2016 for our annual International Mass which was a true celebration of the life of the Lord here in our midst.
We were privileged to start our celebration with a special Mass presided over by Father Michael Doody SJ visiting us from New York for the summer from his post at Fairfield University together with Fr William Hebborn, Fr Romanus Ozuomba and deacons of our Parish of St. Anselm’s and Fr Chris Connor and Deacon Matthew Manoharan of St Saviour, St John the Evangelist, Lewisham. Father Doody preached to the theme of the Good Samaritan and the diversity of all the families of our world and the promise made by God to Abram and his progeny to leave the land and make his way in the world. Our special covenant with the Lord had begun.
The children of the Parish representing all the different cultures to be found in our community processed into the church with the International flags and also took part in leading the singing, assisted by members of the regular parish choir in most joyful and uplifting celebration. The Mass was followed by an evening of entertainment, music, dance, warm hospitality in the Parish old hall organised by the International Committee, supported by members of the parish Social Events Committee led by Thelma Lewis and her team.
A Grand Raffle draw representing the diversity of the international evening was held and the proceeds of this will be presented to the Syrian Appeal that is the current Parish Charity for this year.
The evening was one of unity and celebration, amazing costumes (even two kilts were seen) but above all we are reminded that it was a celebration that springs from the love of God at the core but also the love of our neighbour as ourselves. In Laudato Si (Praise be to you) Pope Frances calls us to accept our neighbour as our “true brother.” St. Anselm’s Parish this weekend brought to life the words of Luke 10:25-37 when Jesus reminded us most powerfully of who our neighbour is and how we must go and “look after him” We are truly blessed to be part of such a wonderful community.