As we look back at 2019, we do so from the prism of the global pandemic that changed so much about the way we live our lives. For over three months, everything seemed to stop, as we adjusted to living in lockdown and learning new ways of doing things.
Although our churches were closed for common worship and even for individual prayer, the Church is always alive and active. This was shown in so many ways. Priests and people adapted quickly and found new ways to carry on the life of faith, both spiritual and practical. Every day the Mass, the great prayer of praise and intercession, was celebrated in our churches.
Those who were able, took to digital media to keep in touch with their parish, schools and each other, and to participate in live streamed Masses. The sense of community continued online. A great number used their creativity to find ways to include those without internet access.
Parishioners checked on each other and their neighbours, offering useful assistance with everyday tasks, as well as companionship over the phone or internet.
Our parishes, schools and Caritas agencies stepped up their efforts to help their neighbours who suddenly found themselves jobless, homeless or with little support. For many, who had nowhere else to turn, parishes and schools, coordinated by Caritas, became a beacon of hope. An army of volunteers prepared and delivered meals to homeless people and households in need, distributed food vouchers to families left with little or no income, and even used their talents to produce personal protective equipment for health and social care workers.
These acts of kindness, and others too numerous to mention, extend the work that is already done in our parishes, schools and communities, examples of which abound in the following pages. Done with selfless generosity and quiet dedication, they are the thousands of lights, shining brightly, illuminating the darkness of hardship and despair. Their source is the light of Christ that shines through all who are made in the image and likeness of God, displaying the innate goodness of God, flowing through us.
I thank all in our diocese whose love and care of their neighbour and creation demonstrates all that is best in the human spirit and reflects the light of Christ.
I thank, too, all who compiled this Report and the Annual Accounts.
His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
To view and download the current published accounts, please click here