Notability, a choir of quality, ushered in Advent on a cold wet Sunday 2nd December evening at St. John’s Cathedra, Salford. Those who attended the service were treated to a beautiful repertoire that included Lullaby Jesus and Mary’s Boy Child along with favourites such as Hark! The herald angels sing and Silent Night. Cathedral organist Antony Hunt gave a special rendition of The Holy Boy (Carol of the Nativity) by John Ireland. The evening was to support the work of homeless charities Caritas Diocese of Salford and Salford Loaves and Fishes.
Along with the chairperson Jane Murphy of Loaves and Fishes, Mark Wiggin, Director Caritas Diocese of Salford shared this Advent perspective:
Tonight we gather in the peace of this great cathedral in a city where we see change all around us. The cranes building tower blocks that are bringing people into the city to live, work and spend their hard earned money. We look to the skies and marvel! But when we look to the ground we see poverty, loneliness and homelessness on our streets. But tonight is a night for Hope! Tonight, we remember the lowly, the poor and the homeless as we prepare to celebrate the gift that is Christmas. Tonight we specially remember the work of two charities – Caritas and Loaves and Fishes – both born here in this cathedral to serve people in need.
Caritas is a word that means love and charity but it also means justice. Last year, Caritas supported homeless people with:
- 3,000 welcomed off the streets
- 120 people given emergency accommodation
- 4,500 food parcels
- 7,500 welfare rights and benefits advice information sessions
In addition, our homeless centre at Cornerstone in the heart of the city responded to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers:
- 400 refugees enrolled last year to learn English
- 80 refugees every night share a meal together after the lessons
These are just some of the people Caritas serves by looking down to our streets not up to the sky. But none of this would be possible without the support of our dedicated staff, community of parishes, schools and volunteers who make our work possible and create a sense of belonging .
Rev. Peter Hopkinson, Vicar General and Episcopal Vicar for Dialogue thanked everyone and offered prayers and a blessing. Staff and volunteers offered refreshments in the cloisters to end a very enjoyable and uplifting evening together.