The Societys Autumn Reception took place on 31st October the eve of All Saints. Mass at 5.30pm in Westminster Cathedral was offered for the Society and its members, by the Cathedral Administrator, Canon Christopher Tuckwell. In his opening words of welcome, Canon Tuckwell paid tribute to the work of the Society in assisting with the upkeep of Archbishops House and thereby assisting the Archbishop. Like all such work, it is often unseen and unsung, but no less important for that.
The Reception itself followed in the Throne Room of Archbishops House and was graced with the presence of around 75 members and friends. The President, His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, together with His Grace Archbishop Nichols, were present. In his speech of welcome and thanks, the Archbishop drew the audiences attention to the fact that there are presently several 50th anniversaries the opening of the 2nd Vatican Council and the 50th anniversary of the first James Bond film both have impacted the world in their own ways. He also spoke about the Holy Fathers reminiscences at the recent synod of Bishops in Rome about the 2nd Vatican Council the highly charged emotions at the sense of anticipation of what was taking place . The Archbishop also talked about the Year of Faith that we have just embarked upon the real desire of people to learn and give witness to their faith evidenced by a meeting in the Cathedral Hall he had led on the Year of Faith. I was thrilled he said. I had hand outs for 60 people; in the end 260 turned up and there was standing room only. He concluded by thanking the Society for its support which plays so pivotal a role in the life of Archbishops House. Other distinguished guests included Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie of Cragiebank, former Chief of the Defence Staff and himself a parishioner, as well as Mr and Mrs Peter Hutley of Wintershall. As is now customary there was a tour of the House, led by Sister Carmel for a group drawn from a random ballot. This is a chance to see the physical fruits of the Societys work and is always much appreciated.
It was a relaxed evening, filled with happiness and good cheer a time to catch up, meet new people and encourage each other. The food and drink were excellent and thanks are due to both John Barrie and Mary Maxwell who each time produce a wonderful party with apparently the minimum of effort. It was good too to see a wide spread of ages and interests in that sense a truly Catholic event. Thanks are also due to the staff at Archbishops House who made us so welcome and we look forward to the next visit.
Below are a selection of photographs taken at the reception.