Archbishop Malcolm McMahon joined with parishioners from Our Lady of Walsingham parish, Netherton, for Mass to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of their church on Sunday 5 December.
To prepare for the celebration parish priest, Father Gervase Moo CSSp, held a Novena of Masses each evening from Friday 26 November with visiting priests including former parish Priest Father Liam Collister, and neighbouring priests, Father Richard Ebo, Father Sixtus Adejoh CSSp and Father Stephen Cooper. Father Gervase also celebrated with teachers and pupils from Our Lady of Walsingham and Holy Spirit primary schools. During the Novena parishioners reflected on how the parish has changed over the last 50 years and on some of the challenges which face it today.
Archbishop Malcolm brought the novena to a close at the Jubilee Mass of Thanksgiving with the angelus followed by the litany to our Lady of Walsingham. Among the concelebrants were Father Ugochukwu Ikwuka CSSp, the Provincial Superior of the Spiritans’ British Province, and former parish priest Canon Chris Fallon. The congregation included teachers and pupils from the two parish primary schools.
In his homily Archbishop Malcolm acknowledged that the past year had been a challenging one especially with the pandemic. Nevertheless, we remain thankful to God for his numerous gifts of blessings. Fifty years as a parish could not have been without challenges but God has always been good and supportive in trials and tribulations. The Archbishop expressed his thanks to the Spiritans for their ministry in the archdiocese and asked parishioners to support parish priest, Father Gervase K. Moo CSSp, in his ministry among them.
Archbishop Malcolm referred to the readings for the Second Sunday of Advent which point to the arrival of an age when peace will reign on earth. That time begins each Christmas, and our season of Advent is also a time to prepare ourselves to play our part in the building up of that kingdom.
After Mass, the Archbishop joined parishioners for refreshments in the parish centre and cut the anniversary cake with the help of pupils from the parish schools and parishioners.