Fr. Jim Allen and the parishoners of St.Bede’s Catholic Church, here in the beautiful border city of Carlisle, in the county of Cumbria, welcome you! If you are visiting or new to the area, please come and join us, on the right you should find the information you need. As a Catholic church, our aim is to be a family where people come to be healed, forgiven and given power to change their lives and change the world. Our church offers opportunities for people to grow in faith in Jesus Christ, in hope and in love. Our parish is a diverse community with people of all ages and social variety. We have a strong congregation celebrating their faith at Mass in our church.
The Year of Faith began on Saturday 22 September 2012 in St Bede’s Parish in Carlisle with a popular mission on Saturday followed by a Blessed Sacrament Procession through the nearby Raffles estate on Sunday.
On Saturday sixty (60) of us walked in process, singing with guitars trumpet and drums, into the city centre and in the glorious sunshine, (the rain was on holiday). The sixty were made up of many young people who had come from parishes in Italy, Poland and other parts of England, plus babes in prams, young ones and old ones.
We were a happy few, and the plan was to go into Carlisle Centre, set up a base and evangelise. So this is what we did: outside M&S the musicians and singers in the middle with the dancers around them. The people passing by were curious and intrigued, at catholics doing what protestants usually do! One reaction was: “are you really catholic? And someone else said “about time”.
The message we preached was short and simple: “GOD LOVES YOU.” “Jesus Christ has died for you and I and he is Risen”. Some greeted us well while others ignored or rejected us. The Holy Spirit helped us to witness to our faith, even though it was challenging and disturbing at times!! While some of us spoke to people the others in our group sang and danced.
Individual experiences were interesting. One man was very sad and very depressed and he looked at our happy faces and thought why can’t I be like you? He told his story: ” I’m from Russia, I have not eaten for three days, I’ve been sacked from my job because I was sick. I want to go home to my wife and children.” We now know that he was been used by the mafia, his life could be in danger. Two teenagers said they were nervous to speak, but were surprised how people responded, most in a good way, though some were not so polite.
After two hours we returned to St Bede’s happy and exhilarated after our time in the city witnessing to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Sunday Blessed Sacrament Procession began at 2pm and was more subdued and prayerful. The sun and mild weather was with us again. We processed into the Raffles estate carrying the Blessed Sacrament on a special plinth decked in flowers and as went we sang traditional hymns and prayed the rosary. Father Jim said “We are bringing and also receiving blessings to everyone who lives here.” On our return which took about an hour we finished with Benediction.
To round off the wonderful weekend we had a feast of a meal in the hall, followed by football on the lawn for the young. From the weekend we have kept in touch with the young Russian man, and have given him support. He has a job away from the Mafia and is saving to go home for Christmas.
29th September 2012