Heralds of the Gospel
Yesterday was quite a day! Having celebrated the parish Mass in honour of St Anthony of Padua (ad orientem, since his statue stands near one of our side altars), I spent a gruelling day at the archive, packing fifty large crates with some documents which we're moving to Hendon for storage. Then back to the Shrine for a Mass organised by the Guild of Our Lady of Willesden, at which our new sign was blessed. Since this includes the first 'public' depiction of St Josemaria in this country, two priests of Opus Dei were present - Mgr Nicholas Morrish and Fr Joe Evans.
A recently discovered copy of our processional statue of Our Lady of Willesden was also blessed. This will make its way around the homes of Catholic Londoners, who want to receive Mary into their homes. In the Spirit of Vatican II, there were at least four statues of Our Lady of Willesden in the church last night - the original, two processional statues and a smaller version, which a parishioner wanted to be blessed!
There was also a pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima, blessed by John Paul II, which is being sent around families all over the country. This is the charism of the Heralds of the Gospel, an impressive International Association of Pontifical Right, founded in Brazil by Fr John Scognamiglio Clá Dias and now with a base in London (at Hampton Wick). This consists of consecrated lay associates, who live in community and are dedicated to Our Lady (especially under the title 'Queen of the Third Millennium'). They make use of the media and the arts to spread the Gospel - they even have an instrumental and vocal ensemble, The Knights of the New Millennium, which has produced a number of CDs. They also accompany pilgrim statues of Our Lady of Fatima around dioceses, parishes and homes, hence their presence here last night. As you can see in the picture above, they have crusader-like habits! That's me in the cassock, by the way, and the man with the beard is Rick Miller, Master of the Guild of Our Lady of Willesden.