WHILE Mrs Thatcher was meeting Church and State leaders in Poland recently, Poles here have been celebrating the 70th anniversary of their country's independence.
It was in 1918 that Poland, after being partitioned between Austria, Russia and Germany for many years, was revived as a republic and recognised as such by the Treaty of Versailles the following year.
To mark the anniversary a Mass was held recently at Westminster Cathedral, attended by the Polish president in exile, Kazimierz Sabbat. President Sabbat is seen in the picture below, second from left, at a reception after the Mass. With hint are, from left, Fr Vladimir Felzmann, who represented Cardinal Hume; Archbishop Gregorios of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Fr Michael Seed of the Cathedral.
In an interview to mark the event, President Sabbat said he believed young Poles living in Britain were fully integrated but retained their ties with their parents' country. This, he said, was due to two things — the trade union Solidarity and the election of a Pole to the Papacy.
On the subject of anniversaries, seven sisters of the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary recently celebrated Golden Jubilees at St Gabriel's Convent at Cold Ash in Berkshire.
The sisters returned to St Gabriel's as all started their religious life in the noviciate there. In the last half century they have served in Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Liberia and Iceland for a combined total of 350 years!
The event was doubly important as this year marks the centenary of the arrival of the first Franciscan Missionaries of Mary onto English soil.
A centenary service of the Guild of Church Musicians held at Canterbury Cathedral recently saw the presentation of the Archbishops' Certificate in Church Music to the first Catholic to qualify for it.
Bill Tamblyn, former editor of Church Music magazine, author of books on church singing and the Head of Music at the Colchester Institute, pioneered the use of singing in the Catholic liturgy in this country.
The Archbishops' Certificate, which is gained by examination, was opened to Catholic candidates for the first time earlier this year. It was also only then that cantors were made eligible, making Mr Tamblyn's qualification a double first.
And lastly to that high-profile profession, architecture, whose members gathered today for their annual mass at Farm Street in London.
Principal celebrant for the Architects' Mass was Bishop Mario Conti, Bishop of Aberdeen, the Chairman of the Scottish Catholic Heritage Commission. His diocese contains many of Scotland's listed Catholic churches, which he is very interested in conserving.
As well as architects, students, artists, builders and craftsmen and women were expected at the Mass, and funds raised by the collection will be sent to CAFOD.