The Church of St John the Evangelist, Mill End, was full on Sunday 16th January, as the parish gathered to celebrate 50 years of worship in the current church and for the blessing of the new Lady Altar and Reredos.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrated Mass and blessed the new Lady Altar and Reredos. Concelebrating were Parish Priest Fr Andrew Gallagher, Assistant Priest Fr Damian Ryan, and Fr Alexander Master.
Deacon Liam Lynch from St Joan of Arc School assisted, and a full team of altar servers were supported by children from St John’s School.
Preaching on the Gospel reading, the Cardinal, in his homily on the miracle at the wedding feast at Cana, made the point that the phrase ‘Woman, why turn to me’ could actually be interpreted as ‘Our Lady, why turn to me?’ Certainly, the newly-blessed Lady Altar is a place for all in the parish to seek the intercession of Our Lady and our Mother, asking her to speak to her Son on our behalf, as she did on behalf of the married couple that day.
Mass was followed by a sit-down hot lunch served by the SVP Community Lunch team, who offer a free meal to members of the community every third Sunday of the month.
The Golden Jubilee celebration was originally scheduled for the actual 50th anniversary in June 2021, but postponed due to the pandemic.
The church was opened by Cardinal Heenan on 27th June 1971, and consecrated by Cardinal Vincent on 30th April 2016.
Prior to the building of the church, the Catholic community of Mill End and Maple Cross was served, from 1886, from Rickmansworth. In the 1950s, Mass was celebrated at the ‘Camp’, one of the wartime Nissen huts. In the 1960s, the community worshipped variously in the Ebenezer Chapel in the Uxbridge Road, in the Guides Hall in Springwell Avenue, and in the hall of St John’s School. Eventually a site was acquired and work began on the current church in 1970.
Today, this thriving Catholic parish bears witness, handing on the faith to the next generation, and through outreach to those most in need in the local community.
Parish website: https://parish.rcdow.org.uk/millend/