Selly Park Associates enjoy their Silver Jubilee Celebration in Selly Park 
Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Associates of the Sisters of Charity of St Paul the Apostle 
“A grace-filled day” – that was how one Sister described the celebration on October 19th 2019 of the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Associates of the Sisters of St Paul. 
True to form the day began with glorious sunshine as Associates and Sisters gathered together for the traditional tea and coffee in the cloister before Mass. As always it was a time of greeting and catching up with friends new and old and the sharing of news, both joyous and sad, in mutual love and support. 
From here we entered into the silence and peace of the chapel, wallowing in the atmosphere of prayer and presence. At the beginning of the Mass, which Fr Chris Handforth celebrated, Sr Kathleen welcomed us, congratulating us on reaching yet another milestone of our journey of faith, sharing the charism of the Congregation in our own unique way. A joyful Mass followed celebrating the 25 years of relationship between the Associates and the Sisters. Everything felt so calm and peaceful as we gave thanks for all that has been and all that is to come. We particularly remembered all the dearly departed Associates and Sisters and those that could not be with us due to ill health and frailty. They have been and always will be part of our story. 
The Mass was followed by a sumptuous feast provided by the Sisters. There is nothing like the sharing of a meal to bring us all together and providing an opportunity to share stories and memories from the past 25 years. We could have stayed all day but in true Associates style we wanted to spend the afternoon with the Gospel and to let it permeate into our very being through the practice of Lectio Divina. As Sr Kathleen said in her welcome, Lectio Divina is the core of our life as Associates, our own unique charism. It is, as Sr Kathleen said, part of our spiritual lives and a gift that we offer to others. It is part of our every celebration, every meeting and through which we reach out to others in our parishes and communities. The theme of the Gospel couldn’t have been more appropriate for the day as it was all about the importance of prayer and never losing heart. In these times of uncertainty, particularly about the future, it is more important than ever not to lose hope in the power of prayer. 
The closing liturgy brought the whole day together as the Associates candle was passed from one to another with each person expressing a word or phrase which summed up the day for them. Many different words were expressed among which were “friendship”, “thanksgiving”, “love”, “companionship”, “gratitude”, “community”, “memories” and “sharing”. As Associates we are thankful for the blessings of prayer and presence between ourselves and the Sisters and for the friendship and support that exists between us. 
The afternoon ended with a joyful rendering of “Shine, Jesus, Shine” before we cut the celebratory cake and enjoyed some refreshment before we all reluctantly headed home, renewed in body, mind and spirit. (Write up by Sheila McAleese)  
We are grateful to Sr. Alice for the skillful way she captures these special events. 
19th October 2019 
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