Celebration at Westminster Cathedral on the Feast of the Presentation

Sr Nuala McGinley shares her experience of celebrating the Feast of the Presentation at Westminster Cathedral in London last month.
The 2nd February Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple is an important day for all Religious to celebrate the consecration of their lives to God through their Vows. Our community here at St Joseph’s honours this by attending the special Mass which is held at Westminster Cathedral annually. About three hundred Religious, men and women attended this year. That number looked miniscule in a building with a capacity for two thousand and more. In the school hall afterwards we seemed to be crowded. There were a big number of priests con-celebrating with Cardinal Vincent Nichols presiding. It was very impressive. Three of our community traveled by taxi, three chose public transport while one Sister could not attend due to demands of her ministry. It is remarkable how the number of Religious attending this beautiful celebration has diminished over the years. Most of us are nearing the Golden Jubilee stage of our lives. Yet it is remarkable how active the group is. The singing was good and pleasant on the ear with one of the men from the Westminster choir, a tenor leading us.

Bishop George Stack, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, gave the Homily in which he praised the work of the Religious of the Diocese of Westminster.
“It is my privilege on behalf of the Cardinal to give thanks to the Religious of the Diocese for your faithfulness to your calling. On behalf of the countless people you serve, to give thanks for the witness you give by the hope that lies in your hearts. Because you invest your time, your energy, your lives in those people you serve through your many different ministries and apostolates, you bring to birth the words of St. Irenaeus ‘The glory of God is humanity fully alive’.”

The Mass was attended by sisters from around 60 religious communities across the Diocese of Westminster and was followed by a reception in Westminster Cathedral Hall.

After the celebration we all proceeded to Westminster School Hall where we queued up for a warm ample lunch served by a group of young men and women. Our local bishop Nicholas Hudson queued up with us as did the Cardinal. The two course lunch was very acceptable on a cold day. There was a choice of meat or vegetarian food. The whole welcoming part of the celebration was very efficiently organised. Young waiters visited each group inviting each one to enjoy some more drinks. Wine flowed abundantly together with a variety of soft drinks. There was great chatter in the hall as many people became reacquainted with well-known friends of some-time in the past. Fr Jerry Galloway S.J. who had been our chaplain for a few years at the Hospice, came to greet us. It was a thoroughly enjoyable two hours spent in most welcoming company.

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