A memorial service was held yesterday to mark the 20th anniversary of the nail bomb attack on the Admiral Duncan pub in London's Soho. Andrea Dykes, 27, four months pregnant with her first child, was killed. along with her friends and hosts that evening, Nick Moore 31, and John Light, 32. Another 80 people, among them Andrea's husband Julian were badly injured. The Admiral Duncan bombing was one of several targets of the Neo Nazi 'London nail bomber' who targeted London's Black, Bengali and gay communities.
On Saturday, LGBT+ Catholics in Westminster commemorated the attack, and marked their 20th anniversary with a history walk reflecting on key events in their community since 1976.
The walk began at the Oscar Wilde Memorial. After his release from Reading Gaol in 1897, Oscar Wilde asked the Jesuits to receive him into the Roman Catholic Church but they refused. (He was finally received by Passionist priest Fr Cuthbert Dunne on his deathbed in Paris in 1900) In 2013, LGBT+ Catholics Westminster were welcomed to establish their base at Farm Street Church. At the sculpture, an extract from Wilde's De Profundis was read, followed by a prayer 'for those who feel rejected by their family or their faith. "Help us to listen to their pain and reach out with your healing hands to bring reconcilation and peace."
The next stop was Notre Dame Church by Leicester Square, home to the murals painted by the film director and artist Jean Cocteau. This was where the first public conference on 'Catholics and Homosexuals' took place in 1976 - beginning decades of work to integrate LGBT people into the Church. From here the group walked to St Anne's Anglican church where the community met between 2001 and 2007. There was a reading from Henri Nouwen and prayers for unity between faiths.
At the Admiral Duncan pub the group read from Gospel of 1 John 4:16- 21 'God is love. . Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them…" and a prayer for all victims of hate crime.'
From here the group went to the the Church of Our Lady pf the Assumption and St Gregory where the Catholic Diocese of Westminster had invited the Catholic LGBT community their families and friends to a twice monthly Mass and encouraged them to 'full and active participation in the life of the Church.
The final stop on the walk was the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Farm Street where, Westminster LGBT+ was invited to join the parish in 2013. This move was accompanied by an extension of the diocese' pastoral care of the LGBT community with the appointment of a dedicated chaplain. The church is currently hosting an information to mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week. The walkers sang Marty Haughan's All Are Welcome, there was a reading, and the event concluded with a blessing from Parish Priest, Fr Dominic Robinson.
LGBT+ Catholics Westminster - www.lgbtcatholicswestminster.org
National Hate Crime Awareness Week https://nationalhcaw.uk/
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