A team of twenty-five parishioners from the Franciscan Church of the Immaculate Conception took the church out on to Hill Rd, Clevedon on Saturday 13th July.
With the gazebo and stall erected the team went to work sharing their love of Jesus and a care for fellow citizens. Passers-by were invited to light a candle for a friend or family member who might be in need and also perhaps to write a brief prayer. The responses were varied and ranged from the curt “No!” to the “What a lovely thought!’ One ‘resting’ Catholic declared “You are Catholics? But Catholics don’t do this!”
Over ninety candles were lit and thirty-five written prayer requests were recorded. The candles were transferred to the Lady Chapel and allowed to burn out, the prayer requests were offered up as the weekend Masses at the Sunday Masses.
The mission was led by Peter Kehoe and his Evangelising Steering Group. Peter said “I saw a description of an event done in South Wales and wondered if we would have the bottle to have a similar event in Clevedon. I was amazed at the response, despite the accusations that I was wasting my time, people began to see that we should do something more than simply turn up for Mass on a Sunday”.
Volunteers began to emerge – all very nervous. “This is right far outside my comfort zone” one said as she signed up. Another commented “I am nervous, but when I think of the martyrs being hanged, drawn and quartered, for our faith, it’s not asking much really. Hymns gave us strength as we recalled words such as “Don’t worry what you have to say, don’t worry for on the day, God’s spirit will speak in you heart, …” The rest we left up to the Holy Spirit.
The Street Evangelisation was the second of four ‘Mission’ events in May an ’invitational’ Mass wherein parishioners invited friends and family who were “resting Catholics” to attend a special Mass. In September an Open Church will be held when the people of Clevedon and the surrounding villages are invited to visit, look around and hear about the history of the church and the meaning of the special glass windows, In November members of all denominations, and none, will be invited to a special service that focuses on remembering friends and family who have died.