I am painfully aware that these blogs have been rather infrequent in recent weeks. The simple explanation is that we have been absorbed in the task of moving our Society headquarters to its new site on the outskirts of Littlemore. This week we took possession of our new office and it looks splendid thanks to the efforts of Chris McGowan and Adam Manley who have done all the donkey work. It is bright and spacious and will serve the Society well as its centre of administration and as a place of welcome. In time we hope people will feel free to pop in and see us. Our new address is:
St Barnabas Society, Windsor House, Heritage Gate, East Point Business Park, Sandy Lane West, Oxford. OX4 6LB.
The Archbishop of Birmingham has kindly given permission for us to have a chapel within the office unit. At the heart of all the work we do is the daily celebration of Mass which is the source and summit of the Church’s life and mission. We want to ensure that the new chapel is a worthy place in which the Eucharistic Mystery can be offered and to that end we have engaged the services of a talented and inspirational artist to help beautify it. His name is Marcelo Lavallen. He is originally from Buenos Aires in Argentina but now lives in Boston, USA. Having said that he is a regular visitor to Europe where two of his brothers live. I first met Marcelo in 2013 and saw first hand some of the beautiful work he had done at St Dunstan’s Catholic Church in Keynsham in the Diocese of Clifton. I was so taken with it that I invited him to decorate the Shrine of Our Lady of Caversham in my last parish of Our Lady and St Anne, Caversham, on the north side of Reading. He willingly accepted the challenge and the end result is positively stunning! It is a holy place with a rich history and certainly somewhere you should make a point of visiting. Marcelo is now staying at Wolvercote and he is presently engaged in decorating the altar for the new chapel with three scenes from the life of St Barnabas. In time he hopes to produce a new crucifix in the Byzantine style for the east wall of the chapel and an icon depicting Blessed John Henry Newman kneeling before Blessed Dominic Barberi and asking to be received into the Catholic Church. The site of Newman’s conversion and reception is but a short distance from where we are now located.
To decorate and furnish the chapel to a high standard is obviously going to be quite costly. On top of Marcelo’s artwork we have already had to purchase a new altar and altar cloth and we shall require altar furniture, a credence table, cruets and altar linen. As a consequence we would like to invite those of you who support us and those who may have recently connected with us through this website to consider making a financial contribution toward the new chapel. Each week one of the Masses is offered for our beneficiaries and benefactors so those who give so generously to the Society are always very close to us at the altar along with those we support. We are always happy to receive requests for Masses to be offered and the intentions are posted each week on our website. Please give serious consideration to helping with the decoration project and if you choose to do so you can send your donation to the St Barnabas Society at the above address. Just make sure that you indicate very clearly that it is meant for the new chapel. All donations will be acknowledged.
Thank you for your kindness and generosity and for the wonderful way in which you already support us. We are looking forward to an exciting future in which we can seriously expand the scope of our mission. The new chapel will be at the very heart of everything that we are and all that we do as it should be and in time you will be welcome to visit it and to pray with us there. We shall make an announcement when the project has been completed.
God bless you all and may St Barnabas, Blessed John Henry Newman and Blessed Dominic Barberi pray for you and for the St Barnabas Society.