Bishop blesses Hurtado Peace Garden

Bishop Hudson blesses the garden with Br Stephen Power SJ, Director of the Hurtado Centre
Bishop Hudson blesses the garden with Br Stephen Power SJ, Director of the Hurtado Centre

His Grace Bishop Nicholas Hudson attended an event on Monday to celebrate the opening of the Hurtado Centre’s Peace Garden and Journey Exhibition. 

The centre’s small outside area was transformed into a beautiful peace garden with a range of bed, trellises , planters  and seating which were all installed during an intensive week by seven volunteers under the direction of Clarissa a horticulture student who was also giving her time for free.  “It was amazing how it all came together” explained Clarissa, “the volunteers were very hard-working  and energetic  and we were so lucky with donations of plants and garden furniture.  It will look very different in a few weeks when the plants have started to grow and flower.”

Small grants for soil and building materials were donated by individuals and the cardinal’s fund.  Bishop Nicholas blessed the garden during a short ceremony led by Fr Damian Howard SJ, Superior of the Hurtado Jesuit community.  The garden will provide a peaceful retreat for use by those who attend the Jesuit Refugee Service day centre in the building, as well as for other user groups and those living and working in the building.

Bishop Hudson with Sophia and Theodora from English Martyrs with their prize winning pictureAlongside the opening of the peace garden the Hurtado Centre displayed the winning artworks from a competition held with three local Wapping primary schools: Our Lady and St Joseph, English Martyrs and St Anne’s.  Rebecca Gormally, Hurtado Centre programme manager, and Fr John Moffatt SJ, of the Hurtado Jesuit community, visited the schools to talk to pupils about the theme of journeys: Christ’s journey, life journeys and the journeys made by refugees fleeing war and injustice. 

Fr John Moffatt SJ, Fr David Reilly of St Patrick's Church, and Rebecca Gormally“The children were invited to create artwork interpreting the journey theme, and they responded brilliantly -  we had over  200 artworks submitted and with great difficulty we chose thirty for the display,” explained Rebecca.  Bishop Hudson talked to the children about journeys and praised their work before awarding prizes:  “The standard is extremely high and all the paintings are very thoughtful.  The children have clearly reflected carefully on the theme” he commented.

Many of the young artists attended the event with their parents and teachers.  After the short service and blessing everyone enjoyed a wonderful buffet.