Catholic priest reading at a podium in a church
Father Fretch giving a reading at Mass

Thanksgiving Mass

On Saturday 10 June 2023, we gathered together at a Thanksgiving Mass at Our Lady of Victories Parish, Kensington, coordinated by Your Catholic Legacy to celebrate those who have left a lasting legacy to charities in their wills.  Nicola Lawson and Carey Evans from the World Villages team were joined by Clare Bamberger, Trustee, and Father Fretch Ballesteros, a graduate from our Philippines programme, now working and serving in the UK.

We were joined by other charities and some of our fantastic donors to remember those who have sadly died and to celebrate the incredible work that is happening around the world because of generous legacies and gifts left to charities.

Bishop Paul Mason, Bishop of the Forces, spoke at the Mass and there were two trees of remembrance, where we placed names of friends and family of our supporters who they wished to be remembered during Mass.

We were so proud to see Carey give a reading and our graduate Father Fretch taking part in the Mass. Father Fretch is one of the children who benefited from the Sisters of Mary education programmes in the Philippines. From a life of desperate difficulty he was able to complete school. He trained to be a priest and is now working in England. Father Fretch embodies the very real impact of the Sisters of Mary programmes and how they transform lives.

Father Ed O'Connell speaking with a sign for "Your Catholic legacy" behind him
Columban Father Ed O'Connell speaks with passion about his 50 years serving in Peru

What legacy will you choose to leave?

After Mass, we gathered for refreshments at a reception where Father Ed O’Connell, a recently retired Columban priest, spoke about his experiences working with the poor in Peru. Father Ed spoke about how in his years in the country he saw “Money turned into Life” and how donor funds had been used to provide education for vulnerable children.

Father Ed’s stories echo our work. When we receive a legacy or a gift, the money is transformed into the gift of an education for a child, something real and impactful leading to a better life for that child and their family – ‘money turned into life’. A gift can mean the difference between a child receiving a quality education and a bright future or a life trapped in poverty and powerlessness. Father Ed stressed how, through giving, we are being friends to those in need, connecting with people across the world and participating with one another in a community. The Mass, for those present who were of a faith or none, was an inspiration on what legacy we can choose to leave behind and the long term difference it will make.

Thank you so much to everyone who responded and sent names of loved ones for us to remember on the day. A prayer was said in remembrance of everyone who has passed and all those who have left a lasting legacy behind.

This event made us so aware of how much it means to meet in person and so we hope that we can meet more of you, whether we travel to your church service, coffee morning, or event, we are so interested in connecting with our supporters in person. We hope that we can see many of you at Sister Elena’s visit.

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