From Monday to Wednesday this week, seven parishes across Europe offering a full religious ministry in English, gathered at St Joseph's, Paris for an exchange of news and provide a network between us. We meet every two years in one of our parishes and have come to know each other. Each two years, there are some new faces at the gathering. It is wonderful to listen to the issues arising and to seek ways of improving our service of people of great diversity who wish to worship in English.
The parish here on Avenue Hoche was started in 1869 and is still on the same site offering, as best we can, a service to all who come to St Joseph's Church or to our door. One busy aspect, is witnessing Irish passport forms and photogrpahs for people renewing or applying for a passport. The Embassy of Ireland is just a few minutes away from Avenue Hoche. Another recently group of callers are newly-arrived refugees. We are blessed to have over 40 nationalities in the congregation and at five weekend Masses we welcome close to 2,000 people. There are over 200 children each Sunday morning at various stages of preparation for 1st Reconciliation, 1st Communion and Confirmation. The weekend of 19th and 20th May, we will have First Communions and Confirmations. It is such a wonderfully blessed time each year. Today is Ascension Thursday and besides being a Holy Day it is also a public holiday. AT