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Friday 31st May – SitC Opening Event

Catholic Festival of Faith

“There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.”
— Pope Benedict XVI

Encountering Christ – Called into ‘Life to the Full’

Spirit in the City Festival starts on Friday 31st May at 7pm with our evening service.

The service includes times of praise & worship, a main talk and a time of prayer, Adoration and outreach (Night Church) with music led by One Hope Project. Our main talk will be given by our keynote speaker and evangelist, Fr Pat Collins C.M., a Vincentian priest from Dublin who will speak about encountering Christ and how, in Him, we are called to ‘Life to the Full’.

The evening will be followed by an opportunity to pray for the Holy Spirit to fill us anew and ‘Night Church’ – a time of Adoration and intercession before the Blessed Sacrament, and of Outreach. The evening will conclude with Night Prayer and close at 10.15pm.

About our keynote speaker, Fr Pat…

Fr Pat Collins, C.M., a Vincentian priest and a long-time member of the Charismatic Renewal, is well known in Ireland and abroad as a speaker, broadcaster, ecumenist and the author of hundreds of articles and over twenty books. For many years Pat lectured on spirituality and also the psychology of religion in Dublin. He is a founder member of Alpha Ireland and the New Springtime Community, which is devoted to evangelising and training evangelisers.

About evangelisation, Fr Pat says, ‘Jesus, our activities have to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. This means that the true evangelist is a humble person, one who in poverty of spirit acknowledges his or her complete dependence on God. Without Him [Jesus’ we can do nothing (Jn 15:5), but with God’s help all things are possible (Mk 9:23).

About Night Church…

Night Church is based on the Nightfever initiative which was started in Cologne and which aim is to help those far away from the Church encounter God and experience His love and mercy.

In the rush and busyness of Leicester Square, Night Church is an opportunity for people to come into the Church ‘to breathe’. And often, we see people do that as they step into the Church: deep, long breaths… for something is happening. That something is really Someone: Jesus, who is at work loving, blessing, healing, renewing.

We cannot encounter God and remain unchanged however subtle the encounter and Night Church does exactly that. 

The format of Night Church includes Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, candlelight ambience and soft, gentle live music whilst a team of people go out onto the streets and invite anyone passing by to come into the Church to light a candle and for a moment, be still. The Street Outreach team invites people to come into the Church to light a candle and for a moment, allow God in the stillness to touch them. Many have questions about the Church, the service, God. Some share what has been going on in their lives, giving us the opportunity to pray for them or direct them to one of the priests for a chat or the Sacrament of Reconciliation.