Faith in Action
The Cathedral community has always looked outwards, helping those in need. That charism of care and friendship, rooted in faith, continues.
SVP (Society of St Vincent de Paul)
The St Vincent de Paul Society (the SVP) is a lay organisation formed of “Conferences” – small groups of 8 – 10 people working together, in a parish or school, for the relief of need.
For some clients, we help them to find their way around the benefits system or to deal with housing problems. For others, we provide furniture, clothing, food vouchers or household goods. The concept of need is broader than financial hardship and often it is friendship and support, not money, that is really wanted. Visits to the sick, the lonely and the housebound form a large proportion of the SVP’s work and typically we will visit such clients on a weekly basis, sometimes just to chat. We accompany people to hospital appointments or undertake shopping for them, we have a minibus which brings elderly and disabled people to Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Sundays and we provide holidays for those who need but cannot afford them. The Cathedral SVP group meets weekly on Tuesday evenings and we always welcome potential new members. If you would be interested in joining us or just in finding our more about what we do, contact us at email@example.com
Supporting the homeless
For many years, work to support the large number of homeless people in the vicinity of the Cathedral has been a major focus of voluntary activity for Cathedral parishioners.
Many work as volunteers at The Passage and others are active in the Winter Night Shelter project. During the coldest months of the year, a group of rough sleepers is accommodated by a different church each night of the week. Once a week, it is the Cathedral’s turn and we make our guests welcome in the Cathedral Hall where volunteers provide them with dinner, a warm place to sleep and breakfast the next morning before they go on their way. The pandemic put a temporary halt to this initiative but the Cathedral volunteers joined forces with similar groups to form Central London Catholic Churches (CLCC) and carry on our support for the homeless at a time when other services were closed.
CLCC’s first initiative, at the very beginning of the first lockdown, was to set up a stall in Trafalgar Square serving drinks and snacks to homeless people. Today, CLCC offers a twice-weekly facility based at the church of The Immaculate Conception in Farm St where guests are offered refreshments, lunch and signposting to important other services.
For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
‘I say to you, as you did it to one of the least
of these my brethren, you did it to me.’
St Matthew 25:40
The Legion of Mary at Westminster Cathedral
The Legion of Mary is an international association of members of the Roman Catholic Church who serve on a voluntary basis. Founded in 1921, the Legion currently has over 3 million members in all dioceses throughout the world and is the largest apostolic organisation of lay people in the Catholic Church. Working in pairs, Legion members visit care homes, hospitals, the sick and the housebound and lapsed Catholics, and help the parish priest with parish work.
The smallest branch of a Legionary group, known as a Praesidium, is placed at the service of the local parish priest. Westminster Cathedral has two Legion of Mary Praesidia:
Praesidium: Mater Purissima and Praesidium: Our Lady of the Mystical Rose
Meeting: Mondays, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Venue: The Hinsley Room, Morpeth Terrace
There are two types of Legion membership – active and auxiliary.
Active members attend weekly meetings of their particular Praesidium to report on their Legion work. Also, the rosary and other prayers are said and a spiritual reflection is given by their Spiritual Director, Fr Michael Donaghy, who is one of the Cathedral Chaplains. Active members, who are able, are encouraged to attend daily Mass. Due to the sensitive nature of the work they do, members are subject to parish safeguarding checks.
Auxiliary members do not normally attend meetings, nor do they carry out Legion work or visitations, but commit to praying specified prayers including the rosary every day. To join the Legion of Mary please email Fr Michael at email@example.com
The group was founded 12 years ago and began by studying Islam with Dr Chris Hewer, going on to study papal documents about interfaith. The original intention was to concentrate on spirituality, but in fact the topics covered have been much wider. Over the years we have heard excellent speakers from all traditions. We have visited mosques, synagogues, gurdwaras and temples, and taken part in interfaith walks. We are now revisiting the climate crisis, studying Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’.
We meet in the Hinsley Room, Morpeth Terrace on the third Wednesday of the month from 2 to 3.30pm and all are welcome. To find the Hinsley room, stand in front of the Cathedral and walk to your right past St Paul’s bookshop and SVP school. Look for a fence covered in ivy and a garden between the 2 playgrounds. All are welcome and there is no need to book.
Our next meeting is on 15 June and we will discuss chapters 3 and 4 of ‘Laudato Si’. The document is available from St Paul’s bookshop, cost £4.95, or online at https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html.
For more information please contact John Woodhouse at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/Westminsterceathedralinterfaith