St John Southworth Room
The Parish has a new space for communal activities: the inauguration of the St John Southworth room in October, during the Welcome Back Weekend, has enhanced the Parish facilities with a light and warm space, finished to a high standard.
Last year the Parish began a discussion with the St Thomas More Language College about the creating of a new joint space to be used by them and the parish.
In order to create this space, we were asked to give up our shed in the garden in which we stored tables, catering items, etc. As a result, this joint venture has enabled both parties to develop a brand new space.
The school will use it for Performing Arts and other related activities. The Parish can use it every evening and weekend for various activities that are suitable. It has an interactive whiteboard and at the end of it are toilets and a tea making facilities. This building will be open each Sunday and will become the focus for our gathering after Mass.
The toilets in the new building will become the normal ones to be used by those who need them during worship. During weekday evenings, we envisage the space being used for youth activities, catechesis and social events.
It has been a worthwhile partnership for us. We have paid a certain amount of the costs but it means that we now have a purpose built area which we can be used in both summer and winter.
The room has been named after St John Southworth, an English martyr priest born in 1592 and who died in 1654.
Fr John ministered in Westminster and, during the plague of 1636, tended the sick with outstanding devotion and courage. He was arrested repeatedly for his ministry and his refusal to deny his Catholic faith cost him his execution (when he was hung, drawn and quartered).
His corpse was returned to the English College in Douai, Northern France for burial. This was the seminary where he and many other Catholic Priests had studied and been ordained during the period of Catholic persecution. Great care was taken there to preserve his body but, following the French Revolution, his body was buried in an unmarked grave for its protection. The grave was discovered in 1927 and his remains were returned to England. They are now kept in the Chapel of St George and the English Martyrs in Westminster Cathedral in London.
He was canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.