No. 9: Our Lady Queen of Peace, Southbourne, Bournemouth
BY DIANA F LEXMAN
OUR parish, which is not a large one, is located in a less affluent part of Bournemouth, and has a fair proportion of retired people on fixed pensions fighting a losing battle against inflation, We claim to be outward-looking, caring and socially aware, as well as devout.
Despite parish and diocesan commitments, we formed our Friday Group in February, 1972, adopting a project for the installation of water for the deprived villagers of a drought region of Maharashtra, India.
We raised the L389 for that within 17 months, and undertook a second scheme to supply water for a convent and its neighbourhood in another backward and arid district in Secunderabad, India — finding the f500 for that in 20 months.
Our third target of £500 was for a mother / child clinic in Malawai, Africa, where the mortality rate for mothers and babies had previously been very high. We achieved that inside 13 months. For our fourth venture, we are currently aiding a leprosy centre in Ethiopia.
The children of the parish have decided to "do their own thing" and are busy raising funds for an ambulance for leper children in Zambia. They have responded enthusiastically and spontaneously in a variety of ways — through a disco concert, by cleaning cars and windows, errands, gardening and through sponsored spring-cleaning, wallpaper
stripping and a silent "sit-in" at the church on Holy Saturday.
The two Family Fast Days are also well supported, as well as the APF Missionary Society through the home collecting boxes. The last pulpit appeal for the White Fathers produced 1125, and f175 was sent from our parish towards the needs of the two missionary priests of the Portsmouth diocese who have been lent to the Bishop of Bamenda, Cameroon, We organise street collections for Christian Aid each year, and back most ecumenical activities. We were well represented at the all-night vigil held recently in a neighbouring church to mark the one million babies destroyed through abortion.
Our parish priest, Fr Henry Murphy, took a part in the sequence of prayers, readings, etc, along with ministers from Anglican, Methodist and other denominations. More than 30 families in the parish are members of "Life" — Save the Unborn Child.
Charity is also to be found at home in our parish. Many elderly people who could not manage to go unaided to Mass are taken in parishioners' cars every Sunday. The housebound and those in hospitals are visited regularly.
The Catholic Women's League, through its Old People's Welfare, supports the 'Help the Aged Appeal, and holds an annual party at Christmas for more than 70 oversixties. The CWL also assists at the annual handicapped children's party, and some members act as escorts to the handicapped social club, fortnightly. The parish has recently sent 150 books of Green Shield stamps to the Handicapped Children's Trust.
The Knights of St Columba and the Catenians draw strong support from the men of the parish. There is an energetic group of Sea Scouts based in the parish. We have an active parish committee and send representatives to the Diocesan Pastoral Council, as well as to the Denery Council.
We have plenty of social life too — a coffee morning follows the 10.30 am Mass on Sundays, and there is a whist drive every Monday, square dancing on Tuesdays and the chess club meets in the church 'hall weekly.