Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor was given a warm welcome when he paid his first visit to a North London parish on Wednesday evening. Parishioners at Our Lady Help of Christians in Kentish Town turned out in force for the All Saints Day Mass which the archbishop concelebrated with parish priest Fr Stuart Wilson and assistant priest Fr Michael O'Boy. There was African dancing and singing during the service and the Archbishop was given a standing ovation at the end of Mass, when he was given a number of presentations from the parish. Margaret Harvey MBE, who chairs the Justice and Peace group, presented the Archbishop with three bottles of wine and Mary Irish serenaded the visitors from Westminster with a song. The night ended with a party in the parish hall. During his homily, Archbishop Cormac said that while on All Saints Day we remember the big 'names' like St Claire, St Francis or St Dominic, it was also a time to give thanks for countless other people who had not been given the title of 'saint'. Speaking of the funeral he had presided over at the cathedral the day before - that of Anthony Bartlett, a layman who had devoted his life to work with the homeless and poor in the centre of London - the Archbishop said he had been described by many as a 'living saint.' Archbishop Cormac praised the parish for its long tradition of hospitality and work in the community - and encouraged them to be continue to strive to be "the light that shines". See also Anthony Bartlett OBE KSG KGCHS, ICN, 30 October.
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