OUR LADY & ST CHRISTOPHER'S GOLDEN JUBILEE
Fr Michael was present at the celebrations after their Mass on Sunday July 14th. He met with the Cardinal Archbishop who was very interested to hear the news from our parish as well as with two former parish priests; Fr Peter Sharpe and Fr Paschal Ryan. There was a wonderful celebration cake which had an edible photograph of the church at its centre which also included part of the Rectory. The Cardinal was most amused when Fr Michael pointed it out just before he was due to cut the cake. After the clergy had gone Fr Michael had the great honour of presiding at the drawing of the raffle! (Photograph on gallery page)
CRANFORD PARK DAY
This took place on Saturday July 20th. In spite of a rather ominous weather forecast a couple of days before, the weather ended up being glorious. The church was open all day and them most delicious burgers and sausages were on sale along with the usual other refreshments. There was a large number of visitors to St Dunstan's including the Mayor and Mayoress of Hillingdon who were very impressed by the church and its Catholic tradition. In the park there were various stalls and events going on; the falconry display once again drew large numbers. A local theatre group entertained the onlookers with various songs based on happenings in Cranford over the years. Even "Sir Winston Churchill" managed to find time to call in. The "home team" of the Parish of Cranford once again rose magnificently to the occasion and are to be congratulated on their efforts. (Photographs on gallery page)
BAPTISM OF MATTHEW BERRY
We had a splendid celebration on September 8th. Matthew's grandfather, Fr Jeffrey Stokoe SSC, came down from Doncaster to concelebrate the Mass and baptise Matthew. Having no organist for that Sunday, Matthew's father John arranged the four hymns for brass quartet: Cornet, Tenor Horn, Euphonium and E flat bass. The musicians played in the gallery and the sound of the singing with the brass accompaniment was very moving indeed. Members of the family also sang a three part unaccompanied anthem during the Communion. It was an amazingly special occasion. (Photographs on gallery page by permission)
A NEW ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST IN CRANFORD
Fr Francis Press who has been at Our Lady & St Christopher's for the last seven years left the parish at the end of August. Just over two weeks later it was a great joy to welcome Dom Bernard Akoeso OSB as the new Parish Priest. Dom Bernard is a priest of the Benedictine Order which is why he has the title "Dom" rather than "Father" when used in conjunction with his name. He had heard a great deal about our parish before coming and is looking forward to working with us, thus continuing the very special links between the two parishes and its priests which have existed for many years. He is very much looking forward to visiting St Dunstan's and walking in the footsteps of Blessed John Hale.
LONDON OPEN HOUSE WEEKEND
This took place across the weekend of September 21st and 22nd. The church was open along with the stable block and secret garden which once formed part of Cranford House. The weather on Saturday was wonderful, and it was good to see people relaxing over refreshments and laughing as they enjoyed one another's company. We had quite a full church for Mass on Sunday morning. Although it was a rather dark and gloomy day, the threatened thunderstorms did not materialise and there was hardly any rain. There were good numbers of visitors to the church on both days, and it was a joy to welcome back people with connections to the parish who came back to visit. We even had a diocesan bishop who came along incognito. We had good support from within the parish in the provision of light refreshments over the weekend. Although we were due to close at 430pm, we finally locked up at 5pm as no one seemed to be in a great hurry to leave. Another very successful London Open House Weekend.
A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY
On Saturday November 23rd, a larger team of ringers than usual came along to St Dunstan's to practice. What was so special about the occasion was that is was the 101st birthday of Dennis Brock who has been a ringer at St Mary's Sunbury for several decades. He featured on BBC London News last year when he celebrated his centenary; it is believed that he is the oldest bellringer in the world. Dennis brought his British Empire Medal along, and Fr Michael sat at the organ to lead everyone in the singing of "Happy Birthday". After some light refreshments which included a special cake and a second rendition of the birthday anthem, Dennis announced that he was going to have a ring and headed up the spiral staircase to the gallery.