How our parish coped with being in the middle of the London Bridge attack

Fr Christopher Pearson of Precious Blood, Borough hands cups of tea to policemen after the June 3 terror attack (Credit: Gawain Towler)

Pentecost Mass at the Church of the Most Precious Blood at The Borough, London Bridge, had a special poignancy this year. Father Christopher Pearson, parish priest – the parish is in the care of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham – had spent the morning dispensing mugs of tea to exhausted policemen.

The 8.30 am Mass had to be cancelled as people were not admitted to the area. But the cordon was lifted for the sung Mass at 11 am, and it was well-attended even though people faced travel difficulties: the Borough and London Bridge tube stations were both closed, as were several local streets. The children’s choir sang, the Sunday School was busy, and Father Christopher preached on the power of the Holy Spirit and the central importance of understanding the greatness of God’s love.

There was the usual after-Mass gathering for tea, buns, and chatter in the Parish Room with children running about, and plans for forthcoming events are still under way. There will be the usual procession through the streets for Corpus Christi with children strewing flowers and a loudspeaker carrying the hymns and chants across the area.

Plan B, if the church had to remain closed, was to use the nearby Catholic school, which was outside the cordon.

Father Christopher made arrangements, and sent out a text message to parishioners warning of a possible change. “But after talking to the police inspector, we were given the all-clear. I want to pay tribute to the police and to all the emergency services: their courage, dedication and professionalism. They were swiftly at the scene and established a sense of order. After midnight, when I stood at my window before going to bed, there was a sense of security: the area felt safe.”