Bright lights in Soho; Sign of the cross; The long boat home; News knight gaffe; Recusant help for Welby

17 November 2016


Bright lights in Soho
In her atheist days, out with friends in London, the poet Sally Read would often notice the tall red-brick Catholic church in Soho Square. One evening she wandered in. “Seeing a man kneeling in prayer was like seeing someone in a ludicrously athletic position,” she remembers. “I didn’t think I could ever be capable of doing so, and anyway I didn’t see the point.”

Last week, Read found herself back at St Patrick’s, this time at the invitation of the parish priest, Fr Alexander Sherbrooke, to give one of six talks which he hopes will reinvigorate his appeal to raise money for six new stained-glass windows.

Read was received into the Church in 2010, after a nine-month whirlwind conversion from visceral loathing of Catholicism to its passionate embrace. She spoke about her recently ­published memoir Night’s Bright Darknes (Ignatius Press), which has been acclaimed as the most vivid conversion story for a ­generation.

The next talk in the series is on 28 November. Cardinal George Pell will speak about St Damien of Molokai, the patron saint for lepers and HIV/Aids sufferers, and Fr Sherbrooke is expecting another large audience.

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