A year ago at Easter, the Polish Jesuit Community in Willesden Green got permission to use the Anglican church of St Francis of Assisi. The great influx of Poles into this area of London since 2004 had forced the Polish Jesuits who administer the chapel on Walm Lane to look for a larger church to accommodate all worshippers. On Sunday, the Polish Community marked the first anniversary of using that church in Willesden Green by celebrating Mass. Among the guests were Bishop Alan Hopes, the British Jesuit Provincial, Fr Michael Holman SJ, the Polish Provincial from Warsaw, Fr Dariusz Kowalczyk SJ, the parish priest of St Andrew and St Francis Church, Rev Scott Anderson, the former President of Republic of Poland, Ryszard Kaczorowski, with his wife, and MP for Brent East, Sarah Teather. In his introduction to the Mass, Bishop Alan said: "It is the Mass which unites all of us with Jesus Christ and with one another whatever our cultural or language differences may be. On behalf of the Cardinal (Cormac Murphy-O'Connor), I would like to say how much your presence is welcomed by the Church in England and Wales, and especially here in the Diocese of Westminster. You have enriched the Catholic community here with a particular spirituality and with your example of commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and his Church. Over the years you will become more and more integrated with the local Church and will become a valuable part of the evangelizing missionary work to bring others to know and love the Lord'. Bishop Alan and all invited guests were very impressed by the huge number of young Poles attending the Mass and the high standard of English the Polish children were speaking. There was an unseasonal fall of snow that day, but Polish Jesuits' Superior, Fr Jerzy Bialek SJ said: "The winter weather didn't spoil the joyful community spirit this Sunday. All guests were very happy to be together enjoying the barbeque prepared by the parishioners afterwards."
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