|Celebrating 30 years of Hope in Wolverhampton
On Saturday 24 October Bishop David McGough led a Mass at St Patrick’s Church in Wolverhampton to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Hope Community Project. Hope serves the community of Heath Town and many past and present staff, volunteers and friends and family of those involved in the project attended the Mass.
Concelebrant Father Stephen Fawcett, who came over from Rome especially for the occasion gave an inspiring homily about Hope Community and its work over the last three decades. Fr Stephen was a member of Hope Community for about 12 months in the 1990s while taking a break from his studies at Oscott and actually knocked on the door of the present project manager, Sue Allen, when she moved into the area. He is currently studying in Rome after which he will be returning to lecture at Oscott College.
The other concelebrants were Fr Dawid Piskorz (St Patrick’s Parish Priest and vice chair of Hope’s trustees), Fr Eamonn Corduff (formerly of St Patrick’s, now at Christ the King, Kingstanding), and Fr Michael Puljic. Fr Michael was on placement at Hope as a seminarian in 2010 and is now Assistant Priest at Corpus Christi, Stechford with responsibility for St Wilfrid’s, Castle Bromwich.
Castle Bromwich is where Sister Margaret Walsh IJ (still a trustee of Hope) will be based for an exciting new parish venture, while continuing her invaluable work with refugees and asylum seekers in St Chad’s Sanctuary. Other Infant Jesus Sisters who came to share in the celebrations were Sr Angela Barratt, Srs Ann Marie Ryan and Eilish O’Mahony (who both spent time in Hope Community, Heath Town, and who crossed the sea from Ireland to be with us on the day) and Sr Jo Cremin from Liverpool, who is also a trustee.
Also attending the celebratory Mass were Andy Quinn, Chief Executive of Father Hudson’s Care, and Emma Reynolds, MP for Wolverhampton North East. Emma has been a great supporter of Hope Community since becoming the local MP. She visits the project when her diary permits and wrote a letter in support of the ultimately successful application to the Big Lottery Fund earlier this year.
A group from Holy Trinity and St Patrick’s led the singing of beautiful and moving hymns, accompanied by David Cope, Stephen Ibbs and Trevor Stockton. David is Director of Music for Holy Trinity, Heath Town; Stephen is Joint Managing Director of Data Developments, the company who produce the software used by Hope for monitoring their outcomes and keeping their financial records; and Trevor is Music Leader for St Anthony’s, Fordhouses, Chair of Hope’s board of trustees, and a school and diocesan volunteer for CAFOD in Wolverhampton. During communion, Fern Allen played melodic and reflective instrumental music on her oboe.
The celebrations continued afterwards in the church hall with lunch, songs and music and an inspirational film, produced by Hope volunteer Kate Penman and Nelson Douglas, showing the work of Hope Community over the 30 years through interviews with people connected with the project. There was also time for people to chat and catch up with each other, some of whom had not met for over 20 years. Bishop David, who has kindly agreed to become the Patron of Hope Community Project, moved around the tables with ease, making time to
speak to as many people as possible. It was a truly memorable and joyous occasion.
Hope’s focus remains the same as when it began: to seek out and visit the most vulnerable and isolated people in our midst and to integrate and help build a successful multi-cultural community where the gifts of each individual are recognised and appreciated. As St Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians (3:20-21), ‘Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.’
For more information on the project please contact Sue Allen on 01902 556645, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website, http://hopecommunityproject.org.uk/. Hope is also on Facebook (Hope Community Project) and Twitter (@Hope_Nicolas)
Hope Community Project