The Soho Masses
The Soho Masses Pastoral Council welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered Catholics, their parents, families and friends to Masses at 5.00 pm, on the 1st & 3rd Sundays of every month, at the Church of the Assumption & St Gregory, Warwick Street, London
No foreigner adhering to Yahweh should say, 'Yahweh will utterly exclude me from his people.' No eunuch should say, 'Look, I am a dried up tree.' For Yahweh says this: 'To the eunuchs who observe my Sabbaths, and choose to do my good pleasure and cling to my covenant, I shall give them in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I shall give them an everlasting name that will never be effaced. As for foreigners who adhere to Yahweh to serve him, to love Yahweh's name and become his servants, all who observe the Sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant: these I shall lead to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
Isaiah 56, 3-7
Everyone has a place in the church, every person without exception should be able to feel at home and never rejected
It appears that the Christmas carol 'O Come All Ye Faithful' may well have received its first public performance in the Church when it was the Portuguese Embassy chapel in 1795.
Westminster Diocese issued this statement on 18 December 2007:
Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory
In recent years a number of homosexual Catholics, together with their parents, families and friends, have expressed their desire for pastoral care from the Diocese of Westminster. SinceMarch 2007, this has been provided by the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory in Warwick Street, in the heart of Soho.
Recently there has been a review of the provision that has been provided and, as a result, Mgr. Seamus O’Boyle has been appointed Parish Priest. He will be responsible for ensuringthat all pastoral provision is given with due catechesis and formation according to the mind of the Church. The parish will continue to be sensitive to the pastoral needs of homosexual Catholics.
Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory parish provides a welcome to all and every Mass celebrated at the Church has always, and will continue to be open to all.
The Archbishops - Sensitivity and Deepened Understanding
From Archbishop Vincent Nichols’ Homily at the 10th Anniversary Mass of Cardinal Hume’s death, 17 June 2009:
"He was resolved, for example, that those of a homosexual orientation should not feel alienated from the Church by an insensitive or incomplete presentation of the Church’s sexual moral teaching. He insisted that we heed the Church’s teaching thatpeople are not to be defined by their sexuality, a teaching much overlooked today. Hegave fresh emphasis to a forgotten esteem for the love of genuine friendship. In facing these and other moral dilemmas he sought to uphold the greater good while never belittling our best efforts and strivings. He was a compassionate teacher, never forgetful of his own weaknesses and therefore always sensitive to the vulnerability of others. He had taken to heart the words of
St Paul which we have just heard: ‘the human race has nothing to boast about to God’ other than the grace of God at work in us. Since this comes about through Christ, he, therefore, is ‘our wisdom, and our virtue, and our holiness and our freedom.’ (1 Cor 1.29-30). We thank God for such an inspired teacher."
Cardinal Hume’s 1997 A Note on the Teaching of the Catholic Church on Homosexuality may be found under the Parents’ Issues Section (Statements & Publications by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England & Wales) on this website
Archbishop-elect of Birmingham Bernard Longley on the BBC Sunday Programme, 4 October 2009:
Roger Bolton (Interviewer): ……You were also instrumental in setting up, or helping to be set up, services at which lesbians and homosexuals were welcome. Do you think the Church should show, needs to show, more compassion to those minority groups?
Archbishop-elect Longley: …… Our understanding of human nature is naturally something which has deepened as scientific understanding of the human person has developed …
RB: And on the question of sexual minorities, that whereas you’re very clear that the sexual practice of homosexuals and lesbians is wrong, do you adopt the same approach that our growing understanding about the nature of human sexuality means that we have to show more compassion, the Church needs to show more compassion and understanding?
BL: I think whenever it is demonstrated that there is a deeper understanding or a different understanding of those things which pertain to human nature, the Church has always looked very carefully, discerned the truth within such deepening understanding, and tried to respond accordingly. There was concern within our own Diocese that perhaps we were not offering the kind of outreach and support, and indeed clear teaching, towards Catholics who were homosexual, within Central London.
RB: What, they felt excluded?
BL: There had been organised for some years a celebration of Mass, which was in fact in an Anglican church, and the group had enjoyed the hospitality of a local Anglican parish, and I think they were very grateful to the pastors there for that, but the perception could very easily have been that they were welcome there, in that particular church, but in none of ours, and so, (RB: And not in their own Church?) the churches in the West End of London have worked very carefully together on this. Cardinal Cormac, Archbishop Vincent’s predecessor, asked me to be involved, to work together with the group who were organizing the Mass, and to see whether there couldn’t be a way in which they were fully at home and welcomed, without ourselves in any way changing Church teaching, and happily, through discussion, we were able to come to a point where they are part of an ordinary parish community.
20 December Mgr Seamus O’Boyle
3 January Feast of the Epiphany Fr Tony Lester O. Carm.
17 January Fr Shaun Middleton
Scheduled Christmas Masses at Warwick Street:
Christmas Midnight Mass: 00.00
Christmas Morning Mass: 10.30
Gluten allergy - those who need to are invited to make themselves known to the MC in the Sacristy before Mass so that the appropriate bread can be provided.
Further details of the masses here
Good Liturgy, Good Music, a Warm Welcome and Refreshments to Follow.
Come and meet us - we look forward to seeing you!
Please look at the Music Page
For directions to the Church of the Assumption, see:
Soho Masses News