It all started with a humble apology.
On May 22, about 50 past and present members of Our Lady of Sorrows prayer group gathered at St Benedict’s Church in Applecross to celebrate a wonderful journey that began 20 years ago with this apology for disturbing a prayer session.
Recounting the history of the group, long-term member, Colleen Vallini, reminded those who came to share the occasion, of the moment in 1988 when Dafne Jones apologised to Jean Gardner and Mary Galavan for disturbing their prayer after a Mass at the original Applecross Church.
The ensuing conversation revealed a mutual interest in the charismatic movement and the Our Lady Of Sorrows prayer group was born.
The group began with a 10 week Life in the Spirit course and this sparked a desire in the participants to continue to gather in prayer.
A theme, “Blooming where you are planted”, which was spoken about during the 20th anniversary celebrations, was appropriate, given that the group has moved numerous times, from private houses to the parish hall, a chapel in Attadale and now to the beautiful environs of the newly-consecrated St Benedict’s Church on Alness Street.
Over this time the group has varied in both size and devotional style. Beginning as purely charismatic in which numbers were at their peak, the group has gradually adopted a more faith-sharing, reflective and contemplative spirituality with a smaller number of participants.
Currently the format opens with music and song, followed by prayers of praise and thanksgiving, a reading and teaching, sharing, intercessory prayer and fellowship.
The group provides practical and prayerful supports for one another and contributes in many ways to a variety of projects, both locally and abroad. They also invite priests and facilitators to minister to them with Days of Reflection, as well as annual retreats and with relevant faith building courses.
The 20th Anniversary celebrations began with Mass, celebrated by St God of John Chaplain, Fr Hugh Galloway, who spoke of the importance of being constantly mindful of God’s presence and encouraged the prayer group to continue in their endeavour to share their faith lives with one another.
This was followed by a slide show, which reflected the journey of love and friendship that has been central to the group’s history. The joy that this inspired continued throughout the lunch and fellowship that followed, signifying that all who had been touched by the prayer group, whether past or present, understood that they would always remain a part of this spiritual family.
The Lady of Sorrows prayer group, which gather together in prayer every Thursday between 1-3pm, is made up of people representing many parishes and ethnic backgrounds.
There is a strong Trinidad connection within the group, beginning with founding member Jean Gardner, then inaugural leader, Nina Collier, and through to current leader, Barbara Frost. Part of their Vision states: “We are called to be lights in the darkness in the little church of our family and the greater body of the Church.”
The group welcomes anyone who would like to join them. For further information contact Judy Phillips on 9364 9249.