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Bollywood event, Wolsey exhibition, Catholic lecture

Latest news of interest across the Diocese of East Anglia includes a Bollywood event, a Thomas Wolsey exhibition and a Catholic Union lecture.

St John Fisher Church in Cambourne has celebrated its first Bollywood evening (pictured above) with magnificent food donated and cooked by Indian parishioners, reports Mel Ward.

“With skilful performances from Amelia, Annamaria and Mabril getting us in the spirit, we took to the floor ourselves for some vivacious and colourful dancing. Local councillor Shrobona brought along a swathe of saris and guests from the local community joined us in a rainbow swirl of dance,” said Mel. “Philomena’s children and grandchildren had gathered to celebrate her coming to the UK 50 years ago to marry her beloved and much missed Alfred. Shaju acted as compère for the evening.

“All the food and time and effort in preparation was generously donated and the event raised about £1,000 for our SJF Development Fund. We are still praying for discernment for how our church without its own building will flourish in the future, but, for now,  putting those prayers into action and building bonds of friendship, culture and memories along the way,” said Mel.

A major project to celebrate the 550th anniversary of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Ipswich’s most famous son, is now up and running and his famous red cardinal’s hat is a centrepiece of an exhibition open over the summer.

Wolsey was born in 1473 and educated in Ipswich. Initially dismissed by his critics as the mere son of a butcher, he enjoyed a meteoric rise, against the odds, which took him to the most powerful position within the King’s Court as Cardinal and Lord Chancellor and the Pope’s representative in England.

His journey, together with his new-found papal influence, led him back to Ipswich where, between 1526 and 1528, he founded the Cardinal’s College of the Blessed Virgin Mary, situated around the site of a former Augustinian priory. Wolsey fell from power and died before his college established itself and it was largely dismantled. However, his extraordinary story still resonates across the centuries and will now be used to inspire future generations.

Thomas Wolsey 550 began in March 2023, the most likely date of the 550th anniversary of his birth. The 550 days from then will see events, performances and other wide-ranging activities to celebrate the life and achievements of Wolsey, particularly focusing on his relevance to today’s society. The widest possible cross-section of communities in and around Ipswich will be able to take part.

The wide-brimmed cardinal’s hat has been loaned by a University of Oxford college and will be on show as part of the “Wolsey’s Ipswich” exhibition, which opened in July at The Hold and runs until Oct 29.

The Catholic Union’s 2023 Craigmyle Lecture will be given by Dame Rachel de Souza DBE, the Children’s Commissioner for England and co-founder of the Norwich-based multi academy Inspiration Trust.

Dame Rachel, a former principal of the Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey, Norwich, will use her lecture to talk about creating a society where children can flourish. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception to continue the conversation.

The lecture will be taking place on Wednesday 13 September at the University of Notre Dame London campus, near Trafalgar Square in London. The event will also be live-streamed. Further details can be found at: