THERE IS NEED FOR A SPANISH CHURCH IN LONDON
"Catholic Herald " Reporter
ANXIETY of Spain's Hierarchy regarding the many thousands of young people leaving for work abroad may lead to action being taken with their Government's help to found Catholic centres for them in the foreign cities where they are most.
In London, where the problem is acute, 15,000 young women between 20 and 30 are said to have arrived in the past 5 years, some as students of English, many of them domestic servants and hospital nurses, and about 500 arc being cared for as best as possible by Spanish nuns in Gloucester Road Now, as the economic situation in their country shows little signs of immediate improvement. employment agencies are arranging to hring over young men too in order to place them in hospitals as male nurses.
Unlike French nationals here, and those from some other countries, Spaniards lack an organisation to care for them spiritually. St. James', Spanish Place, has for years been a normal English parish, and although serinons and confessions are preached and heard in Spanish, the church is not a centre of Spanish life as the French church at Leicester Square can be said to he of French life.
There are Spanish, Claretian Fathers a good distance from the centre of London, both at Hayes and at Loughton, and Vincentians at Potters Bar. The first two are again English parishes, their priests being engaged in normal parochial duties.
. Discussing the problem with the Vincentians this week, I was told that their own work in England is preparation for service in Foreign Missions, but was assured that the Vincentians, as well as the Clarethin Fathers, do all they can for the young Spaniards they meet. THE problem, I was further in formed, has to be officially tackled by the Spanish and English Bishops, with the backing of the Spanish Government. A large number of Spanish fruit growers and salesmen spend the winter months here dealing with the disposal of their produce, and it is generally held that by and large, they do not, while here, go to Mass with regularity. A Spanish mission centre in the heart of London, managed by their own clergy, would go a long way to solve this problem, too. The Potters Bar Vincentian Fathers agreed, too, that such a centre, were it established here, would interest a very large number of London Catholics who would appreciate the opportunity to attend the type of Spanish devotional services which they now experience while on holiday in Spain, and which has certain attractions for some of them,