The Lord Mayor of Hull Councillor Nadine Fudge joined with Bishop Terence Patrick Drainey and Bishop Richard Frith for the Hull Interfaith Advent Service held at St Charles Borromeo Church last night, who were welcomed by the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Canon Michael Loughlin.
The format was a little different from previous years in that the service began with an image and quote of the recently deceased, great inspirational leader Nelson Mandela “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” This was followed by the inspirational hymn ‘Everyday God’ by Bernadette Farrell.
Representatives of Hull’s rich faith traditions took part in lighting the candles of the Menorah which has come to be an annual symbol of the event.
Two speakers gave moving accounts of their personal experiences. The first was a young refugee from Cameroon, Wanyu Flora Yennyuy, who found her faith deepened in the unlikely setting of a detention centre. Wanyu shared how she had found friendship with others from a ‘united nations of backgrounds’ who shared their faith together while being detained.
Alderman Patrick Doyle spoke of his work with homeless people through St Charles Drop in centre and his hopes of a planned Emmaus Centre being developed in the city. He spoke of people sleeping out in cemetaries and church yards, around the docks and other places in the city.
He gave a stark reminder of the ‘poor in our midst’ all the more relevant at this time of year, when the cold seeps into you, especially after dark.
Bishop Drainey gave a moving homily based on the phrase “Only in Christ crucified and risen can we find salvation and redemption”. And a lone youngster Evan aged 12, read the bidding prayers on behalf of St Mary’s Catholic College.
Bishop Frith read the closing prayer before both Bishops shared in giving a combined blessing.
Grateful thanks are due to the tireless efforts of the team of devoted CAFOD parish contacts for bringing it all to fruition!