Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas Joy

This week many of the usually faces of St Patrick's are not around. Many people who help run the parish along with many of the students are back home spending Christmas with their family and friends. For the few that were still here went to the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in Canning Town to help out with their Christmas dinner in the soup kitchen to feed the homeless. It was a lovely time to spend talking and bringing them joy.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Birthday Wishes

We celebrated Fr. Alex's birthday with breakfast together, a delicious homemade chocolate cake made by Aisling, and a birthday song written and sang for Father by the students. It was an opportunity for us to share this special day with him and to more intensively think about all of the wonderful work he does and to sincerely thank God for the gift of his life that he so generously gives to all of us! Happy birthday Fr. Alex, we love you!!!

Christmas Dinner at St. Patrick's Church

The week before we broke up for our Christmas Holiday we helped with the preperation of the big Christmas dinner for our homeless brothers and sisters at St. Patrick's. We tried to make this Christmas time more bearable for them by performing The Navity, singing Christmas carols, and serving a delicious turkey.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Advent Mission

As we're getting ready and coming closer to the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ we spent three days in Leicester Square spreading the Good News through not only smiles and friendly greetings but also by little gift boxes we made which included a Scripture verse, a Miraculous Medal and a sweet! While encountering the people in the streets we also invited them to the French Church, Notre Dame, where we fed them physically with mince pies and hot chocolate and spiritually through prayer and singing.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Douai Abbey retreat

We've just arrived back from retreat at Douai Abbey, a monastery of the English Benedictine Congregation near Reading. After finishing their first Catechism essays on Sunday, the students were ready for a break with both spiritual nourishment and a few 'creature comforts'. The fathers most obligingly provided both; being able to join the sung monastic office, including Vespers according to the 1934 Antiphonale Monasticum, was a privilege and helped to raise our prayer. The relaxing surroundings and excellent food also certainly aided the students' recovery - though as you can see, lie-ins were not possible! Thank you to all of the fathers for their hospitality and talks.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


We were surprised on Tuesday morning - during our farewell breakfast for Edna - by Fr John Parsons, a friend of Fr Alexander's from seminary. He was making an impromptu call on his holiday. Fr John regularly offers Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, according to the provisions made by our Holy Father in his letter Summorum Pontificum. Never slow to take an opportunity to learn more about the richness of our Faith, particularly one so fast-growing yet about which we may know little, we invited him to give a lecture on the history of the Mass, and how to pray along with the Extraordinary form. We were then especially privileged to pray the Mass as he offered it. Thank you, Father John, for helping us to more of the depth of our Catholic Faith.

Friday, 20 November 2009

St Therese of Liseux

Last month, we were privileged to spend time with the relics of St Therese of Liseux. St Therese was a French Carmelite who did not travel after leaving Carmel, yet is Patroness of Missions. Aged only 24 when she died, her short writings and prayers — often described as a shower of rose petals — have led millions towards the God whom she sought so completely.
We led an hour of reflective music and readings when she was at the Carmelite Church; had time in silent prayer with her at Westminster Cathedral; and took part in the Youth para-liturgy on the final night of her tour.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

New Year

The new SPES year is upon us, and our new students are here already, beginning their journey together with the Lord. Lectures this week and last have focused on prayer. Above is a photo from dinner last week with Mark Brenninkmeyer from the School's Board of Management. L-R: Vincent, Aisling, Mark, Mirka, Lissette, Edna, Christina, Deanna. Not in photo: Linda. Full introductions to follow! We have been busy this week with St Therese's visit to London. We have been privileged to spend two eveings with her so far; on Sunday at the Carmelite Church in Kensington, and Westminster Cathedral last night. We will also be going to the Youth Vigil on Wednesady night. Reports and photos to follow!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Past Student Update: Steve White

From Steve White, SPES Alumnus 2004:
Habemus infantem! Little Chiara was born on Sunday August 16. She and her mother are doing very well. SPES and all the work of the parish remain in our daily prayers. I was blessed enough to spend eight months at SPES from 2003-2004 (it was called COMMISSION back then). My time in St. Patrick’s changed my life. Ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you the same. I went there looking for a way to do some good while I figured out what to do with myself after college. What I found was a profoundly deepened love of Christ. Encountering Christ always demands of us a response. SPES was not easy. In fact it was in many ways the most spiritually challenging time of my life. Yet for those eight months I was given the great grace of living in a community that was truly Christ-centered, not just as an idea, but as a matter of fact. Christ was literally and physically the center of everything we did. Daily Eucharistic adoration and Mass are the engine of SPES. It was there that I came to understand what it means to call the Eucharist the true “source and summit” of the life of the Church. It was there that I experienced what I already thought I knew: that without Christ we can do nothing. SPES didn’t make me a saint…just ask my wife. But it did convince me beyond all doubt that being with Christ is worth striving for, worth fighting for every stumbling day, even if it costs me everything. No doubt it will. Steve White

Monday, 17 August 2009

Summer work

Summer is generally quiet for SPES and St Patrick's - but not this summer! Roadworks in front of and to the side of the Church provide a noisy backdrop for our liturgical life and office work. Jackhammers and tarmac cutters sometimes make it difficult to hear readings during Mass. As if that weren't enough, preparatory work for the parish's renovation project - set to begin properly later this year - has started within the church itself. The photo above shows a plastic 'room' in the nave, enclosing the excavations. As you can see, it rather obscures the sanctuary, so we've had Mass at the Sacred Heart altar for a few days - rather fitting for the Year of The Priest.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

New Classroom!

Does this room look familiar to anyone? For those of you that don't know - this is the old SPES Classroom where all the lectures happen throughout the year! We are now preparing for a new, temporary classroom - this time next week there will be a big hole in the wall preparing for an archaeological dig (just in case!). The classroom next year will be just down the road - and more on that to follow! We are busy preparing for a new group of young people coming in ... and also very happy for new parents - Barbara (2005/06) and Terry Toolan of Joseph Daniel and also congratulations to new parents - Misha (2003/04) and Danko of Kamil! Here is a photo of happy parents and baby Kamil!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Monday, 25 May 2009

Mexican Night

Last Sunday was Mexican Night! I made several dishes and Lola assisted in the kitchen. I really enjoyed sharing some of my traditional family recipes with the community. We also celebrated Jeanine's "feast day." It was a wonderful evening! Fr. Emanuel, Fr. Raphael, Br. Bosco, Br. Christopher, from the CFRs and Lara and Deanna joined us as well and it was fun to spend time with them!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Mexican Night!

Ceilidh Dances!

Ceildh in the City, it was an event in aid of the Spirit in the City Mission. On Friday night we went for a ceildh, who was organised to raise money for the Spirit in the City Mission. It was pretty easy to join in as there were a dance caller, who were talking people through each dance. It was a perfect opportunity to support the outreach work of the four Catholic West End Churches whilst having a great evening out with our community. We had wonderful time together and great fun learning new dances!

Lala's 21st Birthday!!!

Thursday, 14 May 2009


We went to Ilfracombe during one week for the charismatic meeting “Celebrate” with all the community, Edna and two past students : Ewa and Wadim. We really enjoyed this time of prayers, charismatic songs, healing celebration and the talks about Lectio Divina, up and down in your spiritual life, evangelisation …We received so much graces. Moreover we were part of the organisation as we helped as stewart during one day and half. And then we could not forget the point of view when we went on the top of the hill in front of the sea in the natural reserve. Marie

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Czech Night!

Hello all our friends! My name is Petr and I am from Czech republic. Our community organized a Czech culture night at St. Anne's Presbytery. I had the idea to prepare a traditional meal called “Vepřo – knedlo – zelo“ which is Pork – dumplings – sauerkraut. All the members of my community helped me with the preparing, cleaning and cooking.There were lot's of things to do, but I think we really enjoyed the day. We invited Fr. Francis Selman who is Dean of Philosophy at Allen Hall, Fr. Rafael, Br. John Bosco, Dominic and Christopher who are Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Mr. And Mrs. Antošovi who are my Czech friends living in London and Monica, Edna and Tess who work at St. Patrick's Church. Fr. Osvaldo who is a brazilian parish priest visited us shortly and brought us a traditional brazilian meal, which was delicious. My Czech guests brought us a beautiful and delicious pudding. After a very lively conversation and meal we had a quiz about the Czech republic and also short slide show about my country. Thank you very much everybody who participated in this event, it was a really beautiful day. God bless you all. Petr

Thursday, 30 April 2009


Happy Easter to everyone! Christ is Risen! Alleluia!! We had very beautiful Holy Week. We made a garden of Gethsemane for Maundy Thursday, then on the Good Friday we had Stations of the Cross through the Soho and in the evening we watched 'The Passion of Christ' with the parishiners. The whole Triduum was amazing, we were awaiting Christ Ressurection. We started to celebrate Easter after Easter Vigil on Saturday!!! Alleluia!!!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Chrism Mass celebrated at Westminster Cathedral

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, celebrated the annual Chrism Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday 7th April 2009 in the presence of over 300 priests and around 1000 people from the Diocese of Westminster.We were there supporting our priests and showing our appreciation for priesthood. 'We love our priests'!!!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Hull Mission

For our Lent Mission we went to Hull. Marcus (student from last year) Teresa, Jeanine and Edna joined us for the mission. We prepared a Holy Hour for the parents of children preparing to receive their First Holy Communion. It was a blessed and beautiful time spent before our Lord praying for the children and their growth in faith. On Friday and Saturday afternoons we hit the streets of Hull and handed out early Easter Gifts and Holy Week Mass times. We even had a young woman join us that we met during our time on the streets. Friday evening was spent with the parish youth group. We animated the Triduum for the students and set up stations to represent all 3 days. We had so much fun!! Palm Sunday was celebrated in Hull and before we knew it we were heading back to St. Pat's! Time just flew by! A huge Thank you to our hosts and host families that cooked and cared for us with great love! Thanks for your warm welcome!

Catholic Underground

A few Saturdays ago we went to Balham and hung out with the CFR's and many other young people at Catholic Underground. The night began with Adoration and then moved to the school gym where some local Artists played music and talked about their faith. It was pretty cool and we'd definitely recommend it. The next one will be on May 9th also in Balham. Lola


We went to Littlemore near Oxford with all the community and Adriano from Jeunesse Luniere community. It is a particularly holy place because the great theologian Newman lived there. The sister Myriam gave us a talk about Newman’s life. It is really amazing how Newman was a famous Anglican preacher who converted to Catholicism. How humble and brilliant he was. This presentation gave us the opportunity to better understand the challenge of England regarding its conversion and the conversion of each of us. It gave us also the desire to read the books written by Newman. It would be very useful in street evangelisation, if we meet an Anglican.


Thursday, 19 March 2009

St.Patrick's Day!

Happy St.Patrick's Day!
St.Patrick's day is a huge event for all of us here at St.Patricks. On the solemnity we had a huge mass that was celebrated by the Bishop Stack as well as many other
priest from the Dioceses. It was really a beutiful mass, followed by the blessing and distribution of shamrocks.
On actual St. Patrick's Day, we had mass with the Cardinal Cormac in the morning, followed by a wonderful lunch prepared for us by Arnold. That night we had over past students for celebration, we had dinner, genesis and desert. The evening was a lot of fun. It was good to have students from past years of the school with us!

Fr.Stan Fortuna

On Sunday we went to Brendwood, where Fr.Stan Fortuna - Franciscan Friar had his concert and speach! We joined the confirmation group for that event. We had wonderful time and were very happy to be able to listen to Fr.Stan. He is absolutely incredible! He gave a talk about the importence of the cross for being a Christian and he spoke also about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It was awesome evening!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Mission at the Catholic Girls School

Last week we had a Mission at the Catholic Girls School of the Convent of Jesus and Mary. The previous week was full of preparations. The theme of the Mission was FORGIVNESS. We worked really hard on the the skit that we presented to them and were very excited about it. We animated three sessions for the goup of 60 girls each! ohhh it was lots of fun and we really enjoyed time with the girls.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Misha - past student from 2003-2004

Here is a picture of Misha and Danko - soon we will post their wedding photo. Misha was a student in 2003-2004 and is originally from Slovakia. Her and her new husband (married in July 2008) now live in Bratislava and will give us a little update on their lives very soon!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

During our time in Rome we have been visited the Basilica of Saint Peter commonly known as St. Peter's Basilica which is located within the Vatican City. St. Peter's has the largest interior of any Christian Church in the world, holding 60,000 people. It occupies a "unique position" as one of the holiest sities and as "the greatest of all churches". In Catholic Tradition, it is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to Tradition, was first Bishop of Antioch, and later first Bishop of Rome.
St.Peter's is famous as a place of pilgrimage, for its liturgical functions and for its historical associations. It is associated with numerous artists, most significantly Michelangelo. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. Like all the earliest churches in Rome, it has the entrance to the east and the apse at the west end of the building.
The day before this, we visited the underground of St.Peter's Basilica.
Catholic Tradition holds that Saint Peter's tomb is below the altar of the Basilica. For this reason, many Popes, starting with the first ones, have been buried there. There has been a church on this site sine the 4th century.
We are very grateful to God and to all our Benefactors, that we had the opportunity to visit these places, where the history and our faith is very clesely connected and you can almost touch it with your hand.
Word from Petr:
Dear friends of SPES!
I would like to tell you about two significant moment of our pilgrimige to Rome which we did few weeks ago. 
We started our journey, just one day after "Snowday" when the whole London was paralized by snow. Because traffic didn't work well at this time, we decided to come to London Stansted Airport  (which is north-east of central London) ealier and spend night there. It was quite short night. Next morning we took our plane, and without any difficulties we started our journey to Rome...

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Rome 2009!

Reflection after our pilgrimage to Rome!
Word from Desirae:
My favorite day of our pilgrimage in Rome was Sunday. We joined our freind at the North American Collegeand Seminary for Mass and Brunch. It was nice to see some familiar faces - Jeff, Jacob, Adam, Charlie and more! - and to have Mass in "American", (Yes, there is a difference!) The NAC had a very beautiful Chapel and I couldn't believe how many priest were there for Mass, they just kept coming and coming during the opening procession! Brunch was great and we enjoyed visiting with everyone there. Afterwards we went to St. Peter's Square to say the Angelus, in Latin with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. He then addressed the people gathered in several different languages Polish - for Marta, French for Marie and finally English for the rest of us! Here is what he said to us:
"I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors here today including those from the Saint Patrick's Evangelization school in London. Today's Gospel reminds us of the duty to bring Christ's Good News to all the world. May your time in Rome be filled with joy and deepen your resolve to draw others to our Lord and his love. God bless you all!"
That was his entire English address! We were in awe and surprise! We had no idea he was going to mention our school! It was such and amazing and blessed moment. We were cheering so loud and we saw him look down and wave, truly he did!