On Saturday 13 November, Bishop Robert concelebrated Mass with Fr Robert Kinlen in the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes Deaf Centre in Newcastle to mark the occasion of the Deaf Community and the SVP working together since 1930. The celebration had been held over from last year due to ‘you know what!‘
Over those 90 years the SVP has supported people with hearing impairments in establishing themselves as a Community, based on their Catholic faith. The Community has been in the present Centre since 1950 (Bishop Robert celebrated Mass back in February 2020 to mark this 70 year milestone). Over the years the Community and SVP have worked together to develop the Centre into an excellent facility including the Chapel, meeting rooms, a dining room with professional kitchen and a social club with bar and games rooms.
Helen O’Shea, SVP National President sent a message of congratulations which was read out by John Kilgour, President of SVP Tyne Central Council which captured the essence of the relationship.
‘The longevity of this partnership between Tyne Central Council SVP and the Deaf Community is testament to the generosity, resilience, adaptability and compassion of so many people over the years and continuing today. I commend and thank all who have been involved and all who continue with this wonderful service; it is an inspirational example of our Vincentian charism at work.’
John went on to say that the SVP is committed to continuing its support and whilst there are challenges ahead, given the history of how previous challenges have been met, we will succeed together.
Mass was followed by a buffet reception and Bishop Robert cut a Celebration Cake with Margaret Marshall and Jimmy Aitchison, the two of the longest serving members of the Community. Margaret worked with her late husband David in the Pastoral Support of the Community and Jimmy was part of the team of members, who modified the building back in the 50’s.
Fr Kinlen has been the Chaplain for the last 30 years, following a long line of Priests and Nuns who have served the Community. His dedication and service are much appreciated by everyone. He says Mass in BSL every Thursday at 11.30 am in the Chapel.