Westminster Record April 2008
Parish Profile The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Hayes
There is a variety of gifts, but the Spirit is the same
1 Corinthians 12: 4 - 11
Eddie Tulasiewicz reports You can’t miss the Church of the Immaculate of Mary in Hayes. Turning off the High Street, the Church’s tower soars skywards, almost seeming to meet the airplanes circling over nearby Heathrow airport. Even if you don’t much care for 1960’s architecture, once inside, the light and space provide an instant transcendence. Fr. Martin Stone has been Parish Priest since 2005, having transferred from a Claretian parish in Leyton, east London. Parish renewal is one of the key items he’s been taking forward. “We have been undergoing a process of parish renewal, beginning on the Epiphany and culminating in Pentecost. We wanted to discover what it is about the parish that we all value and then work out where we want to go.”
to meet and listen to the man, woman or child who is often marginalised in today’s society – in this way people get to know one another and nobody is left out.
Ahead of the curve The Claretian Order is seeking a greater commitment to Justice and Peace issues and Hayes seems well ahead of the curve. “We’re trying to become a Fair Trade parish. We have a permanent Fair Trade shop, entering fully into Fair Trade Fortnight, serving Fairtrade tea and coffee at our Parish gatherings as well as each Friday morning during Lent after Mass serving Fair Trade tea, coffee, marmalade and jams for breakfast.” And this is on top of an already strong SVP group and a Homelessness Group which goes out every Friday night to help out on a soup run.
“We need to be welcoming”
“Share what we have” Hayes is a relatively traditional part of West London, which although home to many new communities, has not been the focus of mass migration from Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, making people feel welcome is one of the key ways Fr. Martin is setting about renewal. “We need to be welcoming. As part of Mass, we have taken time to have a moment when people can get to know one another or, on Gaudette Sunday, share what we have to be joyful about.” This welcome includes people with learning difficulties, their families and friends. The parish has recently set up a Faith & Light Group, an International Community which recognises that everyone has gifts to offer. At its heart is the determination
Next to the Church is a whole complex of other parish buildings and Botwell House Primary School. They are all sited on some four acres of ground, formerly belonging to Botwell House, and bought by the Claretian missionaries in 1912.
The good and service of all
It takes a lot of time, and of course money to upkeep. That’s another one of Fr Martin’s agenda items. “Much of my focus over the last two years has been on finance. Together with the parish, we’ve been strengthening our financial position and cutting the cloth accordingly.” At present, there’s also the little matter of the Claret Social Club to worry about, which is in dispute with
the Parish over the use of the top floor of the Parish Hall.
Focussed on the future This summer four young people from the Parish will be joining World Youth Day in Sydney. It’s symbolic of a parish firmly focussed on the future. As I leave, I pick up a copy of a new 43 page Parish Directory. Packed with
About the Claretian Missionaries... The Claretian Missionaries are a Catholic Religious Order founded by Saint Anthony Claret, a Catalonian priest, in Spain, on July 16th 1849. The aim of the Congregation is to seek in all things the glory of God, the sanctification of its members and the salvation of all people throughout the world, in keeping with the Claretian charism as missionaries in the Church. According to Saint Anthony Claret: “Claretians are people on fire with love, who spread its flames wherever they go. They desire mightily and strive by all possible means to set everyone on fire with God’s love. Nothing daunts them; they delight in privations, welcome work, embrace sacrifices, smile at slander, rejoice in whatever torment they may have to suffer and glory in the cross of Jesus Christ. “ The Claretians are especially committed to their Mission in Belize. This is an endeavour that is supported by parishes and various other groups and individuals. Anyone wishing to support the work of the Mission by volunteering their services, raising money or making a donation should contact Fr. John O’Byrne, the Mission Procure on 01480 810344 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. More details at www.claret.org.uk
information about Liturgy and Prayer, Social and Young People’s organisations, it demonstrates the commitment of the Parish to make sure that the giftedness of each member of the parish can be used for the good and service of all.
Fr Martin Stone