The Goan community has been hailed for active participation at parishes in London and for expressing their faith and celebrating their culture in a unique way
THE GOAN NETWORK | LONDON
The Association of the Friends of Ven Fr Agnelo (UK) and the Goan Community came together to celebrate the 95th Death Anniversary of Venerable Agnelo D’Souza, a saintly member of the Society of Pilar, at St Paul the Apostle Church in Wood Green-London on November 20.
Auxiliary Bishop Paul McAleenan of Westminster diocese was the main celebrant at the Mass.
Auxiliary Bishop Paul McAleenan of Westminster blessing the statue of Venerable Agnelo D’Souza.
“Father Agnelo supported people in their faith,” said Bishop McAleenan, inviting the devotees to support one another on their faith journey to come to Jesus.
Bishop McAleenan further stated, “When I see someone kneeling to pray or lighting a candle in the church, it encourages me on my faith journey.”
Fr Perry Sykes, the pastor of St Paul the Apostle Church, Pilar priests Fr Lucas Rodrigues, Fr Patrick D'Souza, Fr Jerry Fernandes, Fr Feroz Fernandes, Fr Mark Furtado and Deacon Mark Ashwood concelebrated the Mass with Bishop McAleenan.
Thirty-three Goan Village Clubs and Organisations based in the UK were represented during the offertory procession.
During the service, Bishop McAleenan blessed a statue of Ven. Fr Agnelo which was brought from Goa by Catherina Veronica Barreto, who had sought the intercession of Ven. Agnelo. The statue was offered to promote the devotion of Ven. Agnelo in the UK.
The statue of Venerable Agnelo D’Souza donated by Catherina Veronica Barreto.
A fully packed congregation with estimated 400-plus devotees participated in the service in English, while the St Anselm’s Goan Choir, led by Jose Mendes from Southall, sang hymns in Konkani and English.
Fr Perry Sykes acknowledged the Goan community for their active participation in the life of the parishes in London.
Fr Sykes said he was happy to allow the celebration at his church when approached by his Goan parishioners and said Goans express their faith and celebrate their culture in a unique way.
After the Mass, all those present were served with a packet of food, which included samosas, sandwich, and pulao, with drinks. Food was sponsored by various Goan food caterers consisting of Berne’s Goan Kitchens, Louisa’s Kitchen, Shirley’s Kitchen, Suntop Caters, Swindon Caterers, and also Goan Chaplaincy. The band, Jos’ Leo, provided music at the church hall.
Fr Lucas Rodrigues thanked all the Goans from various locations in London, including a bus load of Goans from Swindon, who made the journey to Wood Green to participate in the service.
The Goa Association UK sponsored the Mass, while other expenses were defrayed through donations from various individuals to aid the Cause of the Beatification of Venerable Fr Angelo. Missalettes (little booklets with mass service and hymns printed in colour) were donated by Neves D’Souza and family.
Nina Pinto, General Secretary of Association of the Friends of Ven Fr Agnelo (UK), coordinated and organised this event.
For the first time, the Goan Chaplaincy UK organised the nine-day Novena in various centres in the London area, comprising Croydon, Willesden, Feltham, Tooting, Cranford, Wembley, Hayes, Mitcham, and Southall.
The Novena Masses were held at St Mary Catholic Church, Croydon (November 11), St Mary Magdalene Church, Willesden (November 12), St Lawrence Church, Feltham (November 13), St Boniface Catholic Church, Tooting (November 14), Church of Our Lady and St Christopher, Cranford (November 15), St Joseph’s Church, Wembley (November 16), Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Hayes (November 17), Sts Peter & Paul Church, Mitcham (November 18), and St Anselm’s Church, Southall (November 19). A special Mass was also celebrated at Sts Michael & Martin Church, Hounslow on November 20 in the evening.
St Anselm’s Southall Choir, conducted by Joe Mendes, sings at the Mass to mark the 95th Death Anniversary of Venerable Agnelo D’Souza.