I have already published the statement by Archbishop Nichols on the planned transfer of our Masses to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm St, Mayfair, as well as extensive personal comment of my own (and wish to stress, once again, that anything that I write here is emphatically a personal view only. I am not authorized to speak on behalf of the Masses, nor do I have any desire to speak on behalf of anybody other than myself).
Since the publication of the Archbishop’s statement, our chairman, Joe Stanley, has released a Statement from the Soho Masses Pastoral Council (SMPC) which is accessible on the website, but which I also reproduce in full, below:
Response to Archbishop Vincent Nichol’s invitation to the Soho Masses to move to the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Farm Street, London W1K 3AH
Following several weeks of reflection on the benefits and potential challenges which it represents to our pastoral outreach to the LGBT Catholic Community on behalf of the Diocese of Westminster, the Soho Masses Pastoral Council is pleased to accept Archbishop Vincent Nichols’ invitation to transfer our base of activity from the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory to the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Farm Street.
We are also very grateful to the Jesuit Provincial and Community Superior at Farm Street for the welcome and hospitality they have offered there. The purpose of the Soho Masses has been, and remains, to encourage the LGBT Catholic Community to participate fully in the life of the Church, the diverse body of Christ, through participation in the Mass, and through shared prayer.
In this we have become victims of our own success, in terms of the number of people who have joined the Eucharistic Community of our congregation. This means that, while the body of the church in Warwick St. is still adequate to our number, the lack of other facilities in the 18th Century building has become a limiting factor in organising social and pastoral activity and prayer, in particular for elderly, infirm or disabled people.
We therefore look forward with much anticipation to the opportunity of using the greater space offered by the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and, since we have kindly been relieved of our responsibility of organising the Mass, to respond positively to the Archbishop’s challenge to develop our pastoral work in this “new phase” of our peripatetic existence.
The Masses at Farm Street will, clearly, continue to be at the heart of our life in communion, and of our pastoral activity, and we look forward to participating fully in them. We are sure those priests with connections to Farm St. who have ministered to us at Warwick Street in the past will make us feel especially welcome.
Our only reservation regarding the transfer of base is that our title becomes somewhat of a misnomer, in that we shall be in Mayfair, rather than in Soho. However, given the value of the title Soho Masses we shall continue to use it.
- R.I.P. Soho Masses: Long Live Soho Masses! (queeringthechurch.com)
- What Really Happens at the Soho Masses? (opentabernacle.wordpress.com)
- A Tribute to the (London) Soho Masses Congregation (opentabernacle.wordpress.com)