Catholic Herald Correspondent SOME 250 Catholics. Anglicans and Nonconformists took part in an eight-hour all-night vigil last week during the Christian Unity Octave at the Anglican Church of St. George, Stevenage, Herts. A silent vigil of private prayer was carried out in the Lady Chapel underneath the main church, with each denomination providing groups of people to pray for one hour between 10 p.m. and 6 a.n-i.
Nearly half of those who spent an hour in prayer were Catholics, mostly from the parish of the Transfiguration, Stevenage. Both the parish priest, Fr. F. 1. Straub, and several non-Catholic ministers, spent the full eight hours in prayer—leaving only for short periods to provide transport for some of their parishioners.
The Vigil was preceded by a Unity Mass in the Catholic church. This was a Low Mass, with three English hymns, and was attended by several non-Catholic ministers with their families and members of their congregations.
Fr. Straub saw in the vigil at St. George's the opportunity to return the compliment of those nonCatholics who have been attending the Unity Mass for the last three years.
"St. George is the Catholic Protector of England, and England is the Dowry of Our Lady," he told his .parishioners. "Some heavenly guidance must have directed the non-Catholic ministers to suggest a Vigil of Prayer for Christian Unity in such a chapel."
The Rev. Harold Jones, priestin-charge of the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity, Stevenage, had earlier told Fr. Straub that he appreciated the fact that Catholics could not attend services in other Churches.
The Anglican parish magazine, in appealing for volunteers, also said: "It will be a test of our sincerity for Christian Unity to have to get up out of a warm bed in the small hours of the morning. The sacrifice involved is, of course. the point of having an all-night vigil".
The suggestion for the vigil originally came to Fr. Straub by some non-Catholic ministers, who told him that it had been made by a young member of the Church of England in the town. Fr. Straub then agreed that any of his parishioners could take part in the vigil in the Anglican church, as it was not a combined service.