So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3 26-29
The candidate for baptism was clothed in pure white robes symbolic of the new life into which he entered. Just as the initiate put on his new white robe, his life was clothed with Christ. The result was that in the church there was no difference between any of the members; they had all become sons of God. In verse 28 Paul says that the distinction between Jew and Greek, slave and free man, male and female is wiped out. There is something of very great interest here. In the Jewish morning prayer, which Paul must have used all his pre-Christian life, thanks God that “ Thou hast not made me a Gentile, a slave or a woman.” Paul takes that prayer and reverses it. The old distinctions were gone; all were one in Christ … Only one thing can wipe out the ever sharpening distinctions and separations between man and man; when all are debtors to God’s grace and all are in Christ only then will we all be one. It is not the force of man but the love of God which alone can unite a disunited world. William Barclay Study Bible, Galatians.
(Surely if we are all one in Christ no matter our worldly differences this wipes out the distinction between gay and straight?)
The Parish of Maiden Lane was founded in 1873 and consecrated on the 18th of October, 1956. Often referred to as the “hidden gem” of the West End, the then Archbishop Cardinal Henry Manning said during his homily at the opening mass that “a sanctuary has been opened to be specifically devoted to the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament”.
This was the first church dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament after the Reformation. The famous hymns Sweet Sacrament Divine and O Sacred Heart were written by the parish priest Fr Francis Stanfield (1835-1914). It is also known as “the actors’ church” and is the home of the Catholic Association of the Performing Arts (formerly, the Catholic Stage Guild). It is situated very close to St Paul’s, Covent Garden, the Church of England Actor’s Church.
A very famous priest visitor to the parish over many years was Monsignor Ronald Knox. He first preached his Forty Hours Sermon in 1926, at the invitation of Father Kearney. This became a regular feature in Mgr Knox’s diary from 1926 until 1956. These sermons were published by Burns and Oates in 1956 under the title “The Window in the Wall”, and the charming and touching dedication of this book is, “To the memory of Father Kearney and to his successors.”
For decades the Latin Mass Society has also celebrated Mass here. A young adults’ prayer group meets here weekly and this is a vibrant place of worship and an oasis of prayer and calm – open all day long for visitors, tourists, those who work and live nearby and shoppers to pause and pray.