In June 2014, Mrs Ruth Lassiter visited our centre for a few days. Mrs Lassiter has asked and is working towards the setting up of an SDC centre in the US. Having seen how SDC operates in Malta where it was founded, this visit was an opportunity to get to know more about the activities, mission and way of life of SDC members outside of Malta.
In March 2014 Superior General Natalino Camilleri visited our London Branch. It was an opportunity for us to get to know more about SDC work elsewhere and to discuss issues related to our mission and future direction of SDC in London.
During this last year members of our London branch continued to lead or help out with a number of catechism programmes in four different parishes in the south London area (Diocese of Southwark). These included programmes in which children and young people came together to prepare for the sacraments of Baptism Confirmation and Holy communion, youth groups and other similar gatherings.
On the occasion of the end of the Year of Faith, a series of three meetings were organised for parish catechists of the Croydon Deanery in October 2013. The sessions were held at the Addiscombe parish, Thornton heath and at the SDC House in Upper Norwood. Catechists from Holy Comunnion, Confirmation and RCIA programmes took part. At these meetings different aspects such as 'the Role of the Catechist, the Object of Catechesis and planning and preparation were discussed.
On Monday 8th July Bishop Paul Hendricks, visited our SDC House in Upper Norwood. This was the first visit ever by a bishop to our SDC centre. It was a good opportunity for us to welcome Bishop Paul, talk to him about our Society and many other issues and also share a meal together. Bishop Paul usually celebrates confirmation ceremonies in three of the four parishes where we lead confirmation programmes.
The feast of SDC founder St George Preca was celebrated in London on Sunday 12th May 2013. A mass was celebrated at the Holy Rosary Parish Church which was followed by a reception in the Parish Hall. Other initiatives around this feastday included presentations and special sessions with children from various groups we run in different parishes.
To mark the special year of Faith we are currently holding our monthly SDC Friends meeting on the theme of ‘Our Creed’. At each of these meetings which are aimed at adults who want to find out more about our Catholic Faith, one or two of the articles of the Creed are addressed. Meetings are held at the SDC House in Upper Norwood every third Friday of the month and consist of presentations on the main theme, discussions, bible study and prayer.
This year we led a number of catechism programmes in four different parishes in our area – Virgo Fidelis in Upper Norwood, St Andrew’s in Thornton Heath, Our Lady’s in Addiscombe and the Holy Rosary Parish in Brixton. These included confirmation programmes, First communion and RCIC groups.
On Tuesday 21st August 2012 Fr Hugh Thwaites passed away and moved on to meet the risen Lord at the age of 95. Fr Hugh played a key role in the establishment of SDC in London as it was him who in 1988 asked for SDC members to assist him in running the ‘Brixton Youth Project’ which he had set up in South London. He was a convert to Catholicism and became a Jesuit priest. He worked in a number of parishes and other organisations and touched the lives of many people.
An SDC Youth Encounter was held in Malta for a group of young people from UK, Peru, Albania, Kenya and Malta. During this fortnight (24th July to the 7th August 2012) young people had the opportunity to visit a number of SDC Centres and many places of interest in Malta and Gozo. They also had the opportunity to gather together to reflect on SDC spirituality and its founder St George Preca.
The 26th July 2012 marked the 50th Anniversary of the death of St George Preca, Founder of SDC. Among the special occasions organised for this special anniversary there was a mass at the SDC Auditorium in Blata l-Bajda, Malta on Thursday 26th July and an exhibition of paintings on Dun Gorg by Maltese artist Joseph Pulo.
Two seminarians, Daniel Fitzpatrick and Frankie Mulgrew who produce a catholic podcast called ‘Vocationcast’ have nominated St George Preca as the unofficial patron Saint for Podcasting. They say they were struck among other things with his zeal to promote the ‘Voice of the beloved’ and his lifelong efforts in spreading the Gospel.