On Sunday 8th July the Torch began its journey through Bedford at about 9:30am just up the road from Holy Cross Church, (where the 9:15 Mass was cancelled), turning down Barkers Lane by the side of the Church.
The procession skirted Bedford town centre before leaving in a south-east direction and passing right in front of Christ the King at about 10:30. Here's a report from the parish:
"On Sunday 8th July the Olympic Torch reached Bedford and was carried through the streets passing right in front of Christ the King Church. As parishioners we had decided this was a great opportunity to witness to our faith and so planning for this occasion had started many weeks beforehand.
A small group of us regularly got together after Sunday Masses in the church hall to discuss ideas and then put them into practice. The meetings were informal and friendly, but effective. The group had also planned the parish celebrations around Fr. Brendan Gorman’s Golden Jubilee a few weeks before on 17th June and so were well versed in working together.
Central to our thinking was that our local Community should see a welcoming and well-functioning Catholic parish, as a witness to our faith in Jesus Christ.The parish hall was open all morning for people to wander in and get a drink and a piece of cake. The toilet facilities were also a big draw! As the weather was variable, the hall acted as a focal point for many people who had gathered near the church. One parishioner, who is skilled in making delicious home-made cakes, had made some and served them on the day. Other parishioners helped making tea and coffee.
The hall was also made available to the Salvation Army for their literature.A poster proclaiming “Jesus is Lord” was placed in a prominent position outside the church.
For about 30 minutes the church bell was rung and this pleasant sound could be heard around the neighbourhood. The ringing of the Church bell was a powerful reminder of both the Church’s presence and also its support of this great sporting event. One parishioner sacrificed seeing the Torch pass to ensure that the bell was rung at this precise time!
Some literature about being a Catholic was available to hand out and this provided several opportunities to engage with people who were not regular church-goers, some of whom expressed an interest to reconnect with the parish.It was particularly good to see young visitors to the hall as it gave them an opportunity to experience, albeit briefly, a Catholic parish in action.The whole event passed off very well and gave the parish an opportunity to offer hospitality as our witness. "
Well done Christ the King parish !
The Torch then took a great sweep through SE Beds and Hertfordshire, re-entering the Diocese at the end of the day when it arrived in Luton from the south near Junction 10a at about 18:15, progressing down Castle Street right in front of Our Lady’s ( where the evening Mass was cancelled ) before heading into the town centre for an evening celebration.
Send us your reports and pictures !