Still against the background of the pandemic, the Feast Day Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe duly went ahead on Monday 13th December 2021 with Bishop David Oakley of Northampton as the Principal Celebrant. Although the Mass was not as it would have been in a non-COVID year, we were delighted to welcome the Supreme Grand Knight of the Knights of St Columba, Mr Harry Welsh, with his deputy Mr Michael Akinrele. The Anglican Bishop of Bedford was unable to attend, but in his place we welcomed the Rev Andrew Johnson, who is the Ecumenical Officer for Bedfordshire. There were also a number of faithful supporters from around the country in the congregation, but sadly fewer than usual because of prevailing conditions.
A new dimension was added to the Mass this year by the presence of Radio Maria, a Catholic radio station based in Cambridge. Helen from Radio Maria not only recorded the Mass, but also led the congregation in a Rosary before the Mass started.
This year, unlike in 2020, we were able to join in the familiar Guadalupe hymn which opened and closed the Mass, and we were fortunate enough to have with us Lotti, who sang the Psalm and other parts of the Mass beautifully. Michael Moloney directed the music. As always, the Guardians renewed their vows to serve Our Lady during the coming year.
Bishop David concentrated his homily, which is attached in full in another post, on Our Lady and how she is the perfect example of someone who was totally open to God’s will and was the perfect example of charity. Our Lady’s Relic Image had been brought to the front and a beautiful display of roses had been placed before it, designed and made up by Maureen Brewer. Sadly this year we could not have our usual offertory procession where children bring up roses to Our Lady.
Our usual reception hall at St Frances Cabrini church was not available this year, and so a small reception for the Bishop was held in the Guild Room behind the church. To other guests, we presented to each family a beautiful rosary made by John Fernandes, one of our Guardians. We also distributed for the first time our new Life card, especially designed for us by Alice, a Catholic artist currently resident at Turvey Abbey.
We look forward to the Feast Day Mass in 2022 where hopefully we will be back to a full congregation and reception.