When I started my placement at St George’s, Norwich, in mid- January my main preoccupations were about settling in and getting safeguarding clearance.
Before the lockdown I participated in our liturgies, attended Bible study sessions, visited homes, and visited the homeless charity, amongst other things. I was meant to work two full days weekly at Notre Dame High school, but the lockdown began just after my long-awaited clearance arrived.
I am glad I got to experience the strong sense of community here at St George’s, Our Lady’s and St Boniface churches. There were regular occasions for people to come together. This included tea after Mass, arts and crafts groups, prayer groups, parent & toddler clubs and lunch clubs.
It was sad to see the palm-crosses lying unblessed in boxes or to turn on the lights during the Vigil to see empty pews. We thought we were live streaming our Good Friday Liturgy only to discover afterwards the connection had failed. We laughed over it.
I am happy that many of our parishioners are joining us online for prayer and Holy Mass – not only from St George’s, but other places including Walsingham, our cathedral and even Rome. Fr Sean asked me to record the Stations of the Cross and a set of Passiontide reflections which were uploaded online.
Many parishioners have spoken about the consolation they receive from participating in services online. All the parishioners I have telephoned were happy that we checked up on them. I will never forget the value of community in parish ministry, and how important the faith is to our people who cling steadfastly to the joy and promises of God.
Pictured above is Anthony Asomugha with Bishop Alan