|983: St Anthony of Padua, Forest Gate, London, England|
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|Mystery Worshipper: Mark Wuntoo.
The church: St Anthony of Padua, Forest Gate, London.
Denomination: Roman Catholic.
Comment: We have received a comment on this report.
The building: This is a very large brick building with lots of stained glass. There are two altars: a high altar and a lower communion table. Many shrines open off the worship space, some commemorating Christ's life and death and others dedicated to saints. To the rear is a parish centre and an area where they sell cards, candles and other devotional objects.
The church: The congregation was very mixed in age and ethnic background. We were invited to use pins to mark our birthplaces on a map; this revealed a world-wide representation. The church has links to a local community of Ursuline nuns. They also sponsor a number of groups meeting the needs of particular people (for example, the Nigerian Catholics Association and the Senior Citizens Club).
The neighbourhood: The church and its associated premises occupy a very large site and dominate the skyline. A secondary school is located nearby. The surrounding area is all terraced housing of the older type (possibly built at the end of the 19th century) managed by a housing association.
The cast: The Rev. Bartholomew Lynch, a visiting priest. Various people read the lessons and led the prayers.
|What was the
name of the service?
10.00am Mass with folk choir.
How full was the building?
I estimate that there were between 400 and 500 people present, filling about two-thirds of the seats.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
No. I helped myself to a hymn book and a notice sheet. One or two people smiled as I looked around after settling in.
Was your pew comfortable?
Not really. It was a solid wooden pew with an immovable kneeler just at the place where I wanted to rest my feet so I had to straddle it and was uncomfortable sitting and, even more so, standing.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
It was quiet, except that the echo of the tall building amplified the slightest sound. People were lighting candles and praying at the shrines or with their rosaries.
What were the
exact opening words of the service?