26th May 2011 – Annual General Meeting

The Society’s Annual General Meeting and reception were held on Thursday 26th May 2011 in The Throne Room at Archbishop’s House preceded by Mass in the Cathedral for members of the Society both present and past, their family and friends. Some 70 members and their guests were joined by the Archbishop who attended the reception as principal guest.

At the reception the Chairman, John Barrie welcomed all those attending especially guests. He referred to some of the recent speeches delivered by His Grace the Archbishop before presenting him with an aggregate sum of £40,000. His Grace responded by thanking the members for their generosity and by describing his attendance at the recent Royal Wedding and some of the work carried out in Archbishop’s House.

A selection of photographs follows.

Guests at the reception
Guests at the reception
His Grace and the Chairman
His Grace and the Chairman
Guests at the reception

21st October 2010 – Special Appeal Reception

About eighty members and guests assembled for the Special Appeal Reception held in the Throne Room of Archbishop’s House. This followed the 5:30pm Mass in the Cathedral which was said for the intentions of members of the Society. The chairman, John Barrie read from the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians. As schools are on their half-term holiday, the boys from the Choir School were absent and the senior members of the Choir sang.

His Grace the Archbishop attended the reception and was presented with a cheque in the sum of £80,000 being the sum collected as a result of the Special Appeal made by him last year. In thanking the contributors to the appeal, His Grace mentioned some of the work which has been completed in the house and those items which are next on his list of work to be done. The chairs in the Throne room had been recovered in time for the visit by the Holy Father in September and looked resplendent. His Grace went on to refer to the visit by the Holy Father in September and how the Catholic population should draw encouragement and practice their faith more publicly.

Among those present were Lord Mark Fitzalan-Howard, the Lady Mary Mumford and Sir Brian and Lady Pearse. All present thoroughly enjoyed the evening which matched the friendliness of previous such gatherings. It is believed that some of the guests would join the Society so that they might attend similar events in the future.

27th May 2010 – Annual General Meeting

Following poor weather in previous years, the date for this year’s AGM and Reception was deferred until after the start of British Summer Time, and around 100 members and their guests enjoyed arriving and leaving in the light! Unfortunately, temporary ill health prevented John Barrie from presiding over the meeting, his place as chairman being taken at short notice by the Secretary, Michael Milbourn.

The business of the meeting proceeded normally and Margaret Hood was elected to join the Council, alongside existing members who were re-elected en bloc. Members were given a report on the progress of the Special Appeal made by Archbishop Nichols for funds to enable urgent renovations of Archbishop’s House to take place.

After the AGM, members were joined by Archbishop Nichols and his secretary, Monsignor Martin Hayes. The Archbishop received the Society’s annual donation to Archbishop’s House and was promised a substantial amount when the Special Appeal was concluded later in the year. The Archbishop shared with members his thoughts on the challenges currently facing the church, and on the Papal visit in September, before enjoying a drink and informal conversation with many individual members.

24th June 2009 – Welcome Reception

His Grace greets Una BarrieThe reception was held to welcome the Most Rev. Vincent Nichols to the Westminster Diocese.

Over 120 members and their guests assembled in the Throne Room for a reception immediately following the customary 5:30 Mass in the Cathedral, on 24th June 2009. The new Archbishop stood at the door greeting all arrivals warmly and chatting to those whom he knew from Westminster and elsewhere.

The Society’s chairman John Barrie said a few words of welcome and the Archbishop responded. These words included a request from the Archbishop for assistance in funding some specific major maintenance projects in Archbishop’s House. More details will be made available later.

The occasion was used by many to greet old friends and to make some new friends all fortified by a generous supply of sparkling wine and excellent canapés.

A selection of photos from the reception follows.

His Grace with Michael Milbourn (secretary) and John Barrie (chairman)
John Barrie, Toni and Don Maclean
His Grace with Patricia Small and Mary Neilandl
Margaret Duffy and Joyce Shannon
His Grace with John Hardman and Mary Needleman
Reception guests

14th June 2008 – Visit to Canterbury

Canterbury Cathedral - AltarOn a fine June day, 22 members of the Society made their way as modern pilgrims to Canterbury Cathedral. St Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, arrived on the coast of Kent as a missionary to England in 597 AD and he built a cathedral on the site. Augustine’s original building lies beneath the floor of the nave – it was extensively rebuilt and enlarged by the Saxons, and was rebuilt completely by the Normans in 1070 following a major fire. There have been many additions to the building over the last nine hundred years, but parts of the quire and some of the windows and their stained glass date from the 12th century. By 1077, Archbishop Lanfranc had rebuilt it as a Norman church, described as “nearly perfect, with stone imported from Caen. The architecture varies from Romanesque to Gothic Perpendicular with the largest quire in England, which was extended and rebuilt by Archbishop Anselm. Canterbury Cathedral - CryptThe gruesome murder of Beckett was told in historical detail although nothing remains now of his magnificent shrine which once drew thousands in pilgrimage. A few medieval stained glass windows survive, protected from the elements.

Following a fascinating tour, members joined in the celebration of Mass in the East Crypt at which Father Nicholas Kavanagh from St James, Spanish Place officiated. The collection was donated to the Cathedral. The day concluded with luncheon at the Cathedral Lodge, which is a new building in the precincts.