10 Years On - Welcome to St Stephen House

Page 1

Welcome to

St Stephen House

Years On

Features: From Harvest Dance to Easter “Sprinkling” ............ pp. 6-7. Masses in Hungarian across England ...................... pp. 8-9. Late night film clubs................................................. pp. 10-11.


he number of Hungarians living in the

culture and passing it on to the next generation.

UK is estimated to be in the hundreds

One of the largest “Hungarian spaces” in England

of thousands. The press in Budapest

is the grand St Stephen House, boasting a 300sqm

often talk about London as the second

hall and 950sqm community space spread over

largest Hungarian city in the world,

three floors and situated in an excellent location;

maybe with a little sarcasm, as we do not know

Ealing, in West London. The former school

the actual number. However, we can be certain

building was purchased by the Association of

that the British capital is one of the favourite

Roman Catholic Hungarians in Great Britain in

destinations of Hungarians moving abroad.

January 2007. Following extensive renovation and

As a result, in recent years we have seen a

refurbishment the House opened its doors to the

surge in new Hungarian groups in and around

public in April 2008. Events held here are now an

London: language schools, religious groups, folk

integral part of life for Hungarians in London.

dance assemblies, all adding to the number of

This publication allows the reader to have a

already established Hungarian associations and

glimpse into this colourful life. Welcome to St

organisations with the aim of preserving our

Stephen House!

Published by Tamás Szabó, Chairman of the Association of Roman Catholic Hungarians in Great Britain – Angliai Római Katolikus Magyarok Egyesülete (ARKME) Editor: Gabe Harrach Lector: Attila Korpos Photos: Lehel Kelemen, ARKME-archives Graphic and printing design: András Somodi

Contact us: 62 Little Ealing Lane, London, W5 4EA 07858 399572 info@szentistvanhaz.org facebook.com/szentistvanhaz.london www.szentistvanhaz.org

Dear Reader, a very warm welcome to St Stephen House!

have a “Hungarian island”

in London

where we not only can hear the Word of God in our own mother tongue but we can also celebrate our national holidays, enjoy cultural programmes and have fun in unity, regardless of our religious background.


I am especially proud that our child-friendly, he Association of Roman Catholic

family oriented events attract a great number of

Hungarians in Great Britain has been

families. As you can see in the following pages, St

operating since 1954. St Stephen

Stephen House is not only a religious centre but

House is owned and maintained by

also a hub for family and culture.

the Association with its original aim

We could not do without our volunteers.

of helping and promoting Hungarian religious

The House would simply have to shut down

and cultural life in London and its surroundings.

without them. Therefore, we would like to

While we have a strong relationship with other

thank each and every person who in the past

organisations, notably with the Hungarian Roman

ten years and beyond selflessly gave their time,

Catholic Chaplaincy, we have always been proud

energy and expertise to run the House. New

to be an independent non-profit organisation,

people are always welcome, so why not join us

supported not by outside sources but by the

as a volunteer or maybe later as a committee

generosity of our members. We are truly grateful

member in the Association?

for the donations and legacies of previous

I do sincerely hope that each and every one

generations and decades of wise financial

of you will find something in the House that

decisions made by the Association’s leaders.

enriches your life and will draw you back. Join

Our pride and treasure, St Stephen House

us, be part of our community!

celebrates its ten year anniversary in 2018. Following in the footsteps of our former home, Mindszenty House, we carry on the good work in

Tamás Szabó

a beautiful and spacious building. We are proud to

Chairman of ARKME


“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Listen, my son to my words and act upon those, So that you may long life.” (Saint Stephen’s Advice to His Son, Prince Imre)


t is a huge privilege and only by the grace

Communion during Sunday masses, being fed

of God that I am here to serve among the

by the gospel and participate in the joy and

Hungarian community in England. It is as

mystery of the Eucharist.

much an honour as a huge responsibility.

I invite you, my dear Pilgrim, to join us in St

I wish to serve the church of Jesus Christ

Stephen House. We welcome you in our midst!

and the children of Our Lady, the Virgin Mary,

Come and put down your life’s burden, have

aiming to welcome everybody, those with a

some rest, renew in spirit and go on your journey

religious background and those without.

refreshed and joyful until you finally arrive home.

Everybody who steps into St Stephen House – let it be for a Christening or simply seeking Hungarian speaking company – should find a spiritual home with us. St Stephen House is a place where people

Fr. János Csicsó

can be born again, leave their burden in the

Hungarian Roman Catholic Chaplain

sacrament of confession, share in the Holy

Ecclesiastical President of ARKME


Heroes of the early days: Edit Adler, Mรกria Orosz and Mรกria Hastings, former committee members of ARKME

History of St Stephen House


rom the generous donations of the community, Hungarian refugees in London formed their Association in Notting Hill, London in the early 1950s. The house they bought was

180sqm property and was named after Jรณzsef Mindszenty, the Cardinal who was forced to confess to a host of crimes by the Communist regime. The sad events of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and the influx of refugees that followed meant that the House had an ever growing, important role in the life of those forced to flee their homeland, providing mainly spiritual support. However, when organising larger events the Association had to rent premises from Polish or Ukranian organisations. Therefore, the need for a more suitable and more spacious community centre was pressing.


Ferenc Liscsey: “For forty years we have been aiming to create a community space for Hungarians in London.” Interestingly enough, the­


pur­chase of a new building


was helped by a change

holding balls, film clubs,

in the urban economic

and other cultural events.


The upstairs area now



the previously run down




contains a library, a chapel,

Notting Hill area had become

two flats and a loft area.

so fashionable that property prices

The doors were opened to the

shot up. Therefore the sale of Mindszenty

public in April 2008 when the community

House in January 2007 provided funds not only for

space, the chapel and the library were ready to

a building four times its size in Ea­ling, West London

welcome visitors. While Mindszenty House was

but also for its full restoration and refurbishment.

run entirely by volunteers, it became necessary

But it could not have happened without personal

to employ paid staff to tend the needs of the

connections, either: the then chairperson, Mrs Edit

community and the new House. At present three

Adler’s grandchildren attended the school and

people work tirelessly to secure the smooth

that is how the Association was informed in good

operation of catering, events, staying guests and

time of the property coming onto the market. The

general daily tasks. Volunteers are still essential

purchase process was also smoother due to the

and most welcome when larger events take

fact that it was a Catholic school therefore the


local council and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster wished the purchaser to continue promoting religious values through its cultural activities. Monsignor György Tüttő, the then

History of ARKME in a nutshell

The Association of Roman Catholic Hungarians in Great Britain is a registered charity founded in 1954 in bringing the process to success by his by refugees of the Communist regime. Following the wise negotiations with the Diocese. sad events of the Hungarian revolution in 1956 when Restoration and refurbishment was led tens of thousands of Hungarians chose Great Britain by the Treasurer of the Association, as their new land, the role of the Association grew even Ferenc Liscsey, Architect. In the stronger and played a pivotal role in uniting Hungarians wishing to preserve their culture and heritage. The Hungarian next three and a half years the community was boosted again in 2004 when Hungary joined building now named after the the European Union. Following the freedom to take employment first Hungarian king, Saint in the UK tens if not hundreds of thousands arrived to live and Stephen, was given a new work here. In the past more than six decades The Association of inner structure: classroom Roman Catholic Hungarians in Great Britain played a key role in the walls were knocked down religious, cultural and leisure-time activities of Hungarians living in to create a 270sqm London and beyond. Roman Catholic Chaplain was elemental


From the Harvest Dance to Easter “Sprinkling” The Association’s previous home, Mindszenty House had limited space for larger events. St Stephen House, which is four times bigger, is a hub of daily activities for Hungarians living in London.


he best attended programmes are always national holidays and special celebrations. Six of those are major events: the Harvest Dance in September,

the “Pig-feast” in November, a Christmas Fair with Santa Claus visiting the children in December, a Fancy dress party and Easter “sprinkling” in the spring and the Pentecost Ball in early summer. At each of these occasions we welcome around 100-150 guests to enjoy a delicious threecourse Hungarian meal, with excellent wine,

live music and dance. (Small group activities taking place on a weekly or fortnightly basis are described on pages 11-12.)


Due to the high volume of interest, all major events must be pre-booked, and are sometimes sold out weeks, even months in advance. The diversity of the Hungarian community in London is well reflected by the attendees, all ages and all Hungarian areas – and across borders (Transylvania, Subcarpathian region, Slovakia and Vojvodina). Hungarian national celebrations are also major annual events, often hosted by St Stephen House. These are organized by a Hungarian umbrella organisation, MAOSZ and boast prominent guests from the political, diplomatic and artistic worlds.


Hungarian Religious Life Any community needs a religious base where the spiritual need of their members are met. Hungarian Roman Catholics can participate in masses in two places in London; St Stephen House and St Gertrude’s Catholic Church, South Croydon, and at three locations outside the capital: Luton, Bristol and Cambridge.


RKME being a Roman Catholic Association pressed the need for religious activities right from its start. In the past decades four priests served the spiritual needs

couple (where the Indian man did learn the

of Hungarians in London and the surrounding

Hungarian language) requested their child to

area: Béla Ispánki, Monsignor George Tüttő,

be Christened. Relatives came as far as from

József Virágh and now János Csicsó who has

Calcutta! The same applies to weddings. In

been our devoted Chaplain since 2011. Masses

our marriage preparation courses the Chaplain

were celebrated for decades in Mindszenty

welcomed people from Italy, Poland even

House (see the article on pages 4-5), and now

Argentina. You can see that those participating

it is St Stephen House where they take place

in the sacraments at St Stephen House reach far

on the first and third Sunday of each month

beyond the usual group of Hungarian Roman

at 11.30 am. The first Sundays are celebrated

Catholics. One should not be surprised by it, as

with traditional church music while on the third

Father János Csicsó often says: this Chaplaincy

Sundays we sing modern hymns and worship

is not a parish, we are a mission station. Our

songs. We have a church group of around 50-

Chaplain stresses the importance of confession,

100 people.

as this provides an opportunity to leave our

Besides masses The Roman Catholic Chaplaincy

burdens at the cross of Jesus. Confession in

celebrates other sacraments as well, including

one’s mother tongue is a much deeper, more

Christenings, confession, First Communion,

relaxed and intimate matter as well.

Confirmation, Marriage and Anointing of the

Father János Csicsó makes sure that besides

Sick. There is a growing number of Christenings


a year in St Stephen House, presently around 15-

organized, too. Pilgrimages, adult and children’s

20 a year. Although the sacrament is celebrated

Catechism classes, retreats during Advent and

in Hungarian, the babies may come from mixed

Lent, often with guest speakers serve those who

marriages. Not long ago a Hungarian-Indian

wish to deepen their faith. In May 2017 it was St






Stephen House that hosted a conference for Hungarian priest in Western Europe.

Our Lady of Hungary

We can mention among our guest several

Roman Catholic Chaplaincy

prominent church leaders like Cardinal Péter Erdő from Hungary, Archbishop

Fr. János Csicsó, Chaplain

György Jakubinyi from Transylania and

St Stephen House, 62 Little Ealing Lane, GB

several bishops. Our Lady of Hungary

London, W5 4EA, Great Britain

Roman Catholic Chaplaincy was active in

Tel./Fax: 0044-20-8566-0271

such international events as restarting

Email: hungarian.chaplaincy@btinternet.com

the annual pilgrimage in honour of


Saint Margaret of Scotland who had Hungarian origins and returning the

Hungarian masses are taking place at St Ste-

rare relic, the bones of Saint Thomas

phen House on the first and third Sunday of each

Becket to Canterbury.

month at 11.30 am.


Small group activities Besides the annual major events St Stephen House provides space and opportunity for small group activities organised by and for Hungarians in and around London. These weekly, fortnightly or monthly activities are the backbone of the House’s provision for different groups.


t has been years since the “Szeredás” Folk Dance Group started rehearsing in St Stephen House, and has been for a while our official dance group. A devoted couple from Transylvania, Imre and Panka lead

the group with enthusiasm and expertise. They often entertain us by their beautiful dancing as well as perform at other events across London, and so become ambassadors of Hungarian music and dance in the British capital. We are glad to see that British couples take part in our live music dances and courses, too. The film club was called to life almost ten years ago with a projector and surround sound that provides a near cinema experience. Films are


selected but their artistic

The list of activities is enriched by scout

value and include Hungarian

groups. The “Lajos Kossuth” Scout Association




that has 50 members and counting, celebrated



their 5th anniversary in September 2017 in



St Stephen House. (Hungarian scouting in

“film days” to accommodate longer

Western Europe was founded after World War

productions. These are all followed by

II by the then refugees, however many of the

deep and lively discussions, sometimes

original leaders have now sadly died. After a

documentaries films.


going late into the night.

new influx of people arrived in the 2000s, a

A relatively new enterprise in the House

new generation of enthusiastic, young people

is the board game club where participants

with families, the movement was started all

can relax but also challenge themselves and

over again.

others in different strategic games. The aim

St Stephen House is in a good working relationship

of this weekend club is to entertain and build

with other Hungarian organisations, too who can

up the community. We also have to mention

use the facilities free or at a discounted price.

other events that are not regularly organised by

Recently MAOSZ, the National Federation of

definitely add to the diversity and liveliness of

Hungarians is England held their congress in the

the House, like the table tennis championship

spacious Mindszenty Hall downstairs. London

first organised in 2014 and cultural events,

Angels, the Hungarian leading handball team in

theatre, pop or classical concerts organised

the UK organised their fan club with us and we

either by ARKME or other providers.

host a popular weekly English bridge club too.


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