February 7 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

xStAnthony's

Open door brings ‘amazing’ response for Govan parish

Govan parishioners welcomed almost 100 passers-by into their church in an initiative to evangelise the streets of Glasgow — by Mary McGinty

St Anthony’s parishioners Filip Chilecki and Charles Smith stood outside the church recently, inviting passers-by to enter the church, light a candle and spend a few moments in peace and contemplation.

The men stood outside the church for six hours and almost 150 people lit candles inside the church, in what the gents described as ‘an overwhelmingly positive response.’

 

Evangelisation

Mr Smith said: “The idea was to get people back into Church. Some lit their candle and stayed a few moments and some stayed for an hour.

“The majority weren’t Catholic and some of those who came in did so with a bit of trepidation.

“They wondered what they would find on the other side of the door. Some remarked on what a wonderful job the Church does and a number even wanted to make a donation but I told them that was not what it was about.”

Mr Smith and Mr Chilecki said the success of the initiative came down to its spontaneity, and curiosity, spiritual hunger and latent Faith were factors in the massive turnout.

 

Intentions

Those who entered the church sat for a moment in the pews, offering prayers and petitions for their intentions.

Mr Smith and Mr Chilecki stated the turnout went ‘against a prevailing secular culture which seeks to marginalise religious faith’ and was an ‘example of the laity’s mission to evangelise.’

Parish priest of St Anthony’s Fr Peter Dowling SSS made himself available throughout the evening for those who wished to attend Confession, and concluded the event with a blessing. The evening of evangelisation followed a nine-day Novena to the Holy Spirit which took place in the parish.

Mr Smith said: “Filip approached me with the idea and when I asked Fr Dowling, he was very supportive.

“Filip put together a beautiful Novena which we prayed each day after Mass in the run up to the evening and we listened to some specially chosen Scripture readings. Events such as this are the way ahead to bring people in to reconnect with the Faith or to discover it for the first time.”

 

Response

Mr Smith added that, while not everyone thought the initiative was a good idea, ‘the response was amazing.’

“We had many different nationalities, and one person even asked about being received into the Church and has already spoken with Fr Peter,” Mr Smith explained.

St Anthony’s Church is entrusted to the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, the only parish in Scotland of its type served by the order.

The evangelisation event held by the two parishioners was in honour of the mission of the congregation’s founder, St Peter Julian Emyard, who aimed to foster a renewal and regeneration of Christian life.

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