On Friday 14th September the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, parishioners and Fr David Gnosill (Parish Priest) celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the opening of St Anne’s church in Coventry.

Priests, Deacons and parishioners from across the city were present, as well as former parish priests. The church was full with many having to stand.

During the homily Fr David referred to the celebration being on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the choice of the final hymn "Lift high the Cross" written by George Kitchin in the late 1800s.

“It was inspired by scripture, and also by the vision and dream of Constantine I Roman Emperor 306 and 337 AD. In the dream on the 27th October 312 AD, he saw a cross in the sun with the inscription ‘In hoc signo vincens’ which means ‘in this sign you will conquer’.

"In the dream he was told to paint the cross on the shields of his army. The next day on the 28th October he went into battle under the sign of the cross. He met his enemy Maxentius on the Milvian Bridge outside of Rome. He defeated his enemy under the sign of the cross.

"The following year the Emperor Constantine granted religious tolerance to all religions and gave Christianity the break it needed. Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. And the rest is history”

Fr David then spoke about the history of the Parish and how it too had developed:

“from a small beginning in 1970 where Mass was celebrated in St. Anne's school, and how people had a vision of building a Church.

"They had the Confidence and courage like Constantine under the vision and sign of the cross. Led by Fr. Anthony Taylor, followed by Fr Dominic and then Fr. Yen.

"Building things in bricks and mortar shows confidence and conviction. We form and shape the buildings, then the buildings form and shape us especially through the sacraments.

"History is like a series of bridges, each of them linked in the church's case by the cross. We have our own battles to face, but under the sign of the cross we too like Constantine can conquer, for in the cross is our only hope Ave Crux Spes Unica”

The sermon concluded with “We adore thee O Christ and we bless thee, because by thy Holy cross thou hast redeemed the world”.

The mass was followed by a hot buffet and drink giving every a chance to catch up and relax after a truly wonderful celebration.

To celebrate the Anniversary a new stained glass window has been installed featuring a cross with an inscription “Ave Crux Spes Unica; Hail the Cross our only Hope”.

The window can be seen on the left hand side as you enter the church. In this weeks newsletter Fr David writes ”A big thank you to everyone who made St. Anne’s 40th Anniversary Mass a special and wonderful occasion last Friday evening.

For eighteen months people have been making preparation to celebrate the 40th anniversary. From a small beginning of a few ideas arose all the things that have been taken place like the Mass for the faithful departed, the anniversary prayer, the Christmas card competition, the quiz night, the afternoon teas and the new stained glass window and still taking place like the landscaping of the grounds and the parish social on Thursday 20th September.

Parishioners of St. Anne’s really got on board and rose to the occasion for this wonderful celebration and we can truly say that it has been a time of coming together, sharing, building community and thinking how to make the anniversary a meaningful and memorable occasion.”

The photographs show various features of the church and the very moving celebration, they can be found in the gallery below:

Corpus Christ 40th celebrations