And so we come to the end of our extra-special year, the 200th anniversary of St. Philip parish. This makes us the oldest English-speaking parish in the diocese. It has been a roller-coaster year, full of many wonderful memories. We have lived the theme of Pray-Love-Celebrate from the Blessing of Animals ceremony on October 6th, 2018 through our Bible study programs and Alpha and youth Alpha programs, our Peru Mission in February 2019, our Poor Man’s Suppers throughout Lent, the installation of our new lighting in February, our Advent, Lenten and Pentecost Missions, our Parish Fun Day in May, our Afternoon Tea in June, the Honoring of our Deacons on Pentecost Sunday, the Catholicism 201 course in the spring, our special cemetery Mass with the blessing of our new cross in August, the installation of our new stained glass window in the parish hall and finally our parish retreat, dinner-dance gala and grand anniversary Mass and brunch throughout September. And there have been many more special activities throughout this year, too numerous to mention.
Our parish committees, the Pastoral Parish Council, Temporal Affairs Committee, the Knights and Catholic Women’s League councils, the 200th anniversary committee, the Euchre club, the children’s liturgy and youth Alpha teams have all been involved in different ways to mark this special year. The church has been beautified and adorned in many wonderful ways, thanks to the fundraising events of Brian McSheffrey and his team, especially through the Murder Mystery dinners; we have new additions to our parish, a new statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the front of our church, gifted by our Knights council, the gift of new dalmatics to our deacons, supplied by the CWL councils of St Philip and St Clare; a beautiful new window in the hall, donated by the euchre club and the CWL.
Where do we go from here? We continue our mission, to help bring in the Kingdom of God in our community of Richmond, to evangelize those around us to a personal relationship with God through Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to love God with all our heart, soul and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves. For 200 years there has been a Catholic presence in Richmond, witnessing to the truth of the gospel.