Parish Welcomes Centenary Altar Cloth

8th March 2017 - by Stephen Awre

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On Sunday 5th March, the people of Blessed Robert Grissold parish in Balsall Common, Solihull, gave their usual warm welcome to the Columbans, who attended Mass and invited them to add their names to the Centenary Pilgrim Altar Cloth.

Fr. Pat Sayles, lay missionary Jayjay Enterinah and members of the Columban Mission Office staff travelled to the parish with the British section of the Altar Cloth and led a special liturgy at the end of Mass to explain why the Altar Cloth is being made.  An article in the March/April Far East magazine elaborates further on the reasons for the Altar Cloth as a symbol for the Columban centenary year in 2018.  

The completed Altar Cloth will be formed from named sections of cloth collected from the 14 countries where Columban missionaries are present and will visit each of these countries during the course of the centenary year.  Columban leaders will be meeting shortly in Chile and will discuss the pilgrim route that the Altar Cloth will follow.

Those invited to add their names to the Altar Cloth include Columban friends and supporters and Blessed Robert Grissold parish has a long-standing connection to the Columbans, most recently as regular supporters of Fr. Ed O’Connell in Peru, for whom they hold fundraising ‘breakfasts’ involving plenty of croissant several times a year and have raised more than £14,000 since they began in 2000.  Those adding their name to the Cloth expressed their delight and sense of honour at taking part.

The Altar Cloth will be made available again in the coming months for others to add their name.  Sadly, there is not space for everyone, but those who do add their name will represent the many others from Britain who participate and collaborate in Columban mission. 

Updates on the progress of the Altar Cloth will be posted on this website and our Facebook page.