50th Anniversary of the Consecration of OLI

For the front of the service book, Canon Anthony wrote the following:

When I open the church in the early mornings at this time of the year, pools of sunlight stream in from the east. In the evenings the fading sun lights up the windows. Our Lady Immaculate Church is a very peaceful place to be in. The building is very conducive to prayer. During the day many people drop in, to say a prayer, light a candle, or just come to sit in silence. There is the constant noise of traffic in the background but this does not distract the person seeking peace and quiet. We are fortunate that the church is open for nearly twelve hours a day.

Yet our church was built for the people of God to be able to gather around the altar and with the priest to offer the sacrifice of Mass. To do what Catholics have been doing for centuries which is to carry out the command of Jesus “to do this in memory of me?” Today, we welcome Archbishop Peter Smith who has joined us on this Feast of the Visitation for the celebration of the golden Jubilee of the consecration of the building in 1963. Fifty years ago the then archbishop, Cyril Cowderoy, anointed the walls and pillars of the church with Chrism. Today, the ceramic crosses mark those places and candles are lit. To anoint the building is to set it apart for the worship of God. It is consecrated. It is dedicated. The physical church is a symbol of all of us who are living stones making up the living Church, the body of Christ. We too have been anointed and set apart in our baptism and confirmation to be effective witnesses of Christ in our everyday lives. The strength and ability to do this comes from our Sunday celebration of Mass which is the source and summit of our lives.

Today we pray for all those associated with Our Lady Immaculate Parish, the parish priests, the assistant priests, all those who were baptised, confirmed, made their first communion and were married here. We give thanks for the past, and ask God’s blessing and guidance that we continue to be effective living stones making up the Body of Christ.

Since the Mass, Canon Anthony has received the following letter of thanks:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Consecration of Our Lady Immaculate and equally enjoyed trundling round the hall afterwards meeting the parishioners. My impression too was that those who came found it uplifting and appreciated the liturgy and the celebration afterwards. So thank you and thanks too to all those who helped make it such a wonderful and memorable occasion.    With my gratitude and an assurance of my prayers”

+ Peter, Archbishop of Southwark