Bristol: report from parish of St Augustine of Canterbury

 In May, the parish of St Augustine of Canterbury at Downend, Bristol, celebrated several major events. The first on the Parish Feast Day of 27th May saw the thirtieth anniversary of the consecration of the church; it also marked 1400 years since the death of St Augustine. The Parish flower group decided to hold a special floral display for the church. They were helped by the children of the Parish who each pro uced a single fish and in total some 363 fish were used to decorate the church. Along with the help of from various parish groups including the uniformed organisations, SVP, Prayer Group, choir, and the Not so Young group. Working together they produced tableaux and floral display that told the story of St Augustine and his trip from Rome to the West Country. The festival also included a pictorial history of the Parish. Several hundred people, many not associated with the Parish, came and saw this event over a three-day period. For some of the visitors it was the first time that they had ever been inside the Catholic church. For many others it was the first time they had been into our parish. The general comments from all who came were very positive both attesting to the beauty of the works on display and also to the atmosphere within the church itself. Pat Shrimpton, who leads the Parish flower group, was the main organiser of the event, which took over 12 months of planning. She said: "It was well worth all the effort but at the moment I wouldn't want to organise another one for another 30 years!" The feast day it started with a special Mass attended by the school pupils and about 150 parents. During the day each class came them to see the full display and also their own particular contributions. Over the weekend many young children came in with their mums and dads and proudly showed them where their fish was in the church. Fr Bernard Massey, Parish Priest said: "It was another example of how well the Parish works together. The festival didn't just benefit o the Parish, it also helped us reach out to the wider community and give them a glimpse of what the Catholic Church is able to offer to that of a community."

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