Scores of people headed to the Cardinal Hume Centre in the heart of Westminster on 5 December to attend the charity’s candle-lit advent service. Packing out the Sacred Heart Church, which is attached to the Centre, visitors were treated to a selection of Christmas readings, along with traditional carols performed by the London Oratory School Chamber Choir.
The annual event marks the beginning of the Christmas season at the Centre, which supports young people and families to overcome poverty and homelessness. Arguably its busiest time of year, the advent period sees the Centre’s staff – with the invaluable help of local companies, schools, parishes and individuals – go the extra mile to ensure that all those who come to us for help can enjoy a happy Christmas, despite the financial and emotional hardship they may be facing.
Over the coming weeks, the Centre will host several parties for some of the most vulnerable and isolated people living in Westminster. Santa will visit the children who we work with, each and every one of our clients – whatever their age – will receive a specially chosen present, and all our families will receive a food parcel containing some luxuries as well as important basic items.
Speaking at the event, Cathy Corcoran, Chief Executive of the Cardinal Hume Centre, praised the vital contributions made by all those who support the Centre. Talking about the magic of Christmas, she said: “We spend the rest of the year helping people resolve seemingly insurmountable problems. But just once, just at Christmas, we pause and celebrate. And that celebration is as much about the courage and resilience of the people who we support as it is about the coming of the Christ child. If you are privileged enough to see the light in a child’s eyes when they get a Christmas present for the first time and catch the look on their mother’s face – then that for me is the real magic of Christmas.”
Following the special concert, visitors were invited to enjoy mince pies and mulled wine, and view the Centre’s brand new plans for its £1m redevelopment, scheduled to take place in Spring 2018.