The international club for "au pair" girls at Christ the King Church, Cockfosters, London, NI4, was destroyed by fire in the early hours of January 2. The building is a complete write-off, and police are investigating.
It was the second fire in the club in two months — both believed to be due to arson. After the first fire the clubroom was rebuilt and rewired by the young people themselves, and the estimated cost of £400 was considerably reduced by gifts of
materials and labour.
Now it would cost at least £5,000 to replace and even with an insurance policy worth £3,000 this seems to be an impossible task.
Dom Placid Meylink, OSB, president of the Catholic Advisory Group for Au Pairs, began this international club 15
years ago. It is the only international one among several national clubs operating in London.
Asked whether there was still a need for such a club, Dom Placid said: "When Britain entered the EEC we thought that there would be fewer au pairs. In fact there arc more girls than ever coming to London to learn English, and there is a great increase in those from Latin America, Japan and
He said the real strength of the club lay in the fact that it was open day and night, every -day of the week, so that a girl could come in at any time to meet friends or consult a committee member who was always available to help with all kinds of problems.
Dom Placid emphasised the place of the club in the parish community. "In coming to the club the girls come into our family community," he said. Girls — and boys — of all nationalities and creeds share the celebrations of the parish.
"They add much from their own cultures and we can provide them with a centre which is seldom empty aria a family really concerned with their problems. We feel we must carry on." He said the committee had yet to find the ways and means to do this.
Westminster Year Book
The Westminster Year Book for 1975 defies the paper shortage with a broader format and a new layout, showing itself to be a thoroughbred among diocesan publications.
Early entries by the editor, Fr Gerard Burke, are grouped under a new updated heading "Pastoral Care Services" and those leaving London on major routes have a handy extradiocesan Church guide.
A thousand priests serve the Westminster archdiocese — 503 secular or on loan from other dioceses and 497 from religious orders, with 56 senior candidates in training for the priesthood.
The latest Mass attendance figures recorded are 227,000 for 1972, almost half living in Outer London, with 30,388 in Hertfordshire, the remainder in Inner London.
The editor aims to have "a real news section in future editions" and states that "all complaints will be gracefully received." The last page is blank, thoughtfully headed: "For information you often need but can never remember."
Copies may be had at 30p, plus postage, from Westminster Cathedral Bookshop, Ashley Place, London, SWI.
Anyone who is prepared to go to Canada to work as a lay volunteer teacher, nurse or janitor among mountain and forest should contact Fr Gerard Clenaghan, OMI.
Fr Clenaghan, visiting the Catholic Herald this week, warned: "It's very demanding work. You really need to have the gift of faith." Fr Clanaghan is director of lay volunteer workers in the missionary diocese of Prince George, British Columbia, serving Catholics spread out over the diocese's 135,000 square miles, In a country as rich as Canada, it is surprising to learn that the Government provides no financial aid whatever towards the building and running of Catholic schools or other facilities.
To staff them and help out in other projects, the "Frontier Apostolate" sends 150 people a year on a two-year term of contract who receive board and lodgings and a tiny allowance, described as "long hours, hard work and no pay."
Bishop John Fergus O'Grady of Prince George launched the apostolate in 1956 to keep Catholic life in the area alive, where 22,000 scattered Catholics are served by only thirty priests and fifty nuns.
Of about IMO who apply every year, 70 are selected. The apostolate is by no means a free ticket to Canada, as those who can pay their own fares, but European volunteers are interviewed in Europe. Any one interested and with a taste for hard work should write to: Fr Gerard Clenaghan, OMI, College Road, Prince George BC, Canada V2N 2K6,
Need for Christian love is the theme of a stage production which opens for two weeks on Monday. It is entitled "Ring of Hands" and will be performed by Theatre Roundabout at the
John Marshall Hall, Blackfriars, London.
Theatre Roundabout is a Christian professional theatre
company founded 15 years ago. It consists of Sylvia Read and William Fry who have perform. ed all over Europe and the United States.
Mr Fry explained that "Ring of Hands" is a new production which will appeal to both Christians and non-Christians. The script is gathered from every kind of modern writing, from novels, plays and poems, magazine articles and newspaper advertisements.
"In recent years I am glad to say that we have given more and more performances in Catholic churches and convents, and one of our first really good notices — back in 1961 was actually in the Catholic Herald," said Mr Fry.
'Murder in the cathedral'
On December 29, appropriately the feast of St Thomas of Canterbury, some 300 people filled the nave of London's "Actors' Church" Corpus Christi. , Maiden Lane, for what proved a moving reading by the Genesians of T. S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral."
The Genesians are a recently-formed company of professional actors, singers and musicians who take their name from St Genesius, patron saint of all theatre workers. Their charter is to present religious drama as it was originally presented in medieval days with church for theatre. They give their services free.
For the reading of "Murder in the Cathedral,' the first of their productions, the cast was headed by T. P. McKenna as Thomas it Becket. The Tempters and Knights were played by Derek Newark, Peter Knowles Cook, Alan Foss and Peter Bowles; the First, Second and Third Priests by Tom Lee, Leonard Fenton and Vic Hunter; the Chorus of Women by Mary Allen, Barbara Berkerey, Gwen Ewen, Majorie Hogan, Anne Irving and Ann Morton, and the Messenger by Brian Carroll.
The singers were Teresa Brooks, Judy Duggan, Gwynneth Price, Mary Thomas, Denis Dowling, Philip Latham, Peter Mathews and George Osborne, and the musicians were Dave East, Paul Sparks, Meg Toplis and Lidia Parbury. The music was arranged by Meg Toplis, the singing by Gwynneth Price. The reading was directed by the actress Barbara Berkerey, who has appeared at the Chichester Theatre Festival
IIIAP POI NTM E NTS IIII
The Pope has conferred a Knighthood of St Sylvester on Mr Fred Oxtoby, founder of the Catholic Printing Company of Farnworth, near Bolton. Since 1960 the firm has published Mass books and pamphlets incorporating liturgical changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council.
The Pontifical Order of St Sylvester is conferred for services in the cause of religion or public welfare, and there are now about 25 members of the Order in England — seven of them resident in Salford diocese.
Arundel and Brighton
The Very Reverend Monsignor Paul Clark, parish priest of St Charles, Weybridge, has been appointed a Canon of the Cathedral
The Reverend Oliver Heaney has been appointed assistant priest at St Mary of the Angels, Worthing, Sussex Fr Peter Humfrey has been appointed an assistant priest at St Joseph's Church, Epsom.
The Rev Edward Fooks has bean appointed parish priest of St Catherine's Church, Haathfleld. The Rev John Gillespie has been appointed Chaplain at St Joseph's Convent, East Street, Littlehempton.