Held at Our Lady of Victories parish in Kensington, the Mass was arranged to celebrate benefactors who have left a legacy to the world in faith, hope and love. Bishop Paul Mason, Bishop of the Forces, was the main celebrant and Fr. Ed, who is marking 50 years as a Columban priest, spoke at a reception afterwards in the parish hall.
Concelebrants included Fr. Tony Chantry, National Director of Missio England and Wales, and National Directors of Pontifical Mission Societies in Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Organiser ‘Your Catholic Legacy’ is a partnership of Catholic charities working together to encourage Catholics to remember Catholic charities in their wills. The names of donors who have left legacies and who have died recently were displayed on two ‘trees’ in front of the altar and were prayed for in the Mass.
Reflecting on the Gospel reading ‘The Widow’s Mite’ Bishop Mason saw material sharing with good causes as a dimension of loving God. He talked of a medical centre in Tanzania that he supported and witnessed that, “money made a massive difference” to local people.
Stephen Awre of the Columban Mission Office read one of the bidding prayers, which prayed for donors and their families and all the staff and volunteers associated with ‘Your Catholic Legacy’ (YCL). Members of YCL represented at the event included Aid to the Church in Need, CAFOD, Columban Missionaries, HCPT, Jesuits in Britain, Missio, Stella Maris, St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP), and World Villages for Children.
Fr. O’Connell, who first went on a mission to Peru in 1973, spoke about his experience in the city of Lima, and how donations received from Columban benefactors around the world, including legacies, have funded outreach in enormous parishes organised into smaller communities, a school for vulnerable children, a women’s project, and education and nutrition programmes.
He used the term, ‘Money turned into Life’ and thanked all supporters of the Columban mission in Peru and other worthy causes represented at the gathering. “Missionaries have been go-betweens, linking local and overseas churches,” he said.
Catholic Legacy Week, which ended on 3 June, saw YCL and its 26 member charities offering guidance and free support by writing a will to benefit a wide range of good causes in such spheres as Overseas Aid, Mission and Pastoral Care, and Youth Work.
Stephen Awre, the Columban’s representative in YCL, said: “Leaving a gift in your will to charity is a lovely way to share God’s love with communities around the world who are suffering or who are affected by poverty and discrimination. Writing a Will allows you to provide for the people and causes close to your heart.”