Saint Anne Parish, Vauxhall
Southwark Diocese. Catholic Parish and center of the Latin-American Chaplaincy of London. Property of the Diocese.
On the 1st
of September, 2004, the Augustinian Recollects arrived to this Parish. The Order had signed a contract with the Archdiocese of Southwark by which we would take over the pastoral care of the parish and establish a base for the Latin American Chaplaincy. One priest would be exclusively dedicated and appointed to the Parish and one or more priests would be chaplains for the immense number of Latin Americans in the two archdiocese of Westminster and Southwark.
The area called Vauxhall is in the city centre, a stone’s throw away from the river Thames and very near the Houses of Parliament. It is a communications hub. There is a train station, an underground train station as well as a bus station a mere five minutes from the Church. This was one of the main factors in the decision to seek and move to a parish in the centre of the city that also offered facilities for the pastoral care of the growing Latin American community.
The local community is a mix of races and faiths and cultures. The Catholic presence in the parish is made up of a huge variety of peoples: from the Irish and English of days gone by and who have lived here for decades to the asylum seekers from Nigeria or the Congo. There is a great number of Portuguese, Nigerian, Ghanaian, and folk from other African lands; from different European countries (Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain, the Island of Madeira etc), South America, the Caribbean, Asia: Philippines, Mauritius, Hong Kong etc.
The area is neither poor nor middle class nor rich. I would say it has elements of each of these social classes. The parish has it’s own school called after St. Anne like the parish itself. The school has 430 pupils more or less. Fr. William Brown who came from Scotland in the 1890’s had very strong ideas about the importance of education and built a school even before the church. There was no church here. The nearest being St. George’s Cathedral about 2 kilometres away. Fr. Browne wanted a church fit for the poor and indeed built one of great beauty for the times and this area of Vauxhall. He saw the church completed with a bell tower and all in 1907. He remained as parish priest for almost fifty years till he died in 1951.
The Recollects arrived in 2004 to look after the needs of the parish and use St. Anne’s as a base for the work of the Latin American chaplaincy. From here the chaplains serve the men and women who left home and country to find a new life here in London. There are five centres where Mass and the sacraments are celebrated and where preparation for baptism, holy communion, confirmation and marriage take place. There is a team made up of Recollects and in each centre there are volunteer catechists, leaders, musicians, readers, Eucharistic ministers to aid the evangelization of the people. Some religious sisters are very involved in these activities, sisters who have lived part of their religious life in south America and wish to extend and offer their knowledge and experience in this new place which has its own challenges.
The parish of St. Anne’s has it’s own activities of sacramental preparation each year and the pastoral care of the school next door and then, all that a parish entails.
Country: United Kingdom
Area: 1.570 km2
Population: 7,825,000 pop.
Density: 4, 978 pop/Km2
GDP per capita (England): 35, 974 $USA
Coordinates: 51º 30' 26'' North, 0º 7' 39'' West
Altitude: 24 meters above sea level
Time: UTC +0
Temperature: 2-23 ºC
Rainfall: 1,460.2 mm
Distance to London: 0 Km.
Coat of Arms