The first parish priest was Fr. Peter Ryan and the Solemn Opening of the church by Bishop Peter Amigo took place on Friday 10th November, when he gave an address followed by Benediction. The parishioners were very poor, so collections were low. At one point Fr. Ryan had to ask the Bishop for £30 to pay the local trades people. Fr. Ryan was followed by Fr. George Leidig, who was the parish priest throughout the First World War. Although he had been born in Deptford, he had a German surname, and this caused him problems during the war, when people in the local shops refused to serve him. Parishioners helped him out by providing meals, which he at times gave to beggars who arrived at the door. He organised a men's and boys club to keep hold of boys leaving school and going to work and appealed for funds in the Tablet for what he called "the poorest mission in South London". When the Bishop visited in 1919 he found lodgers living the presbytery to help with expenses. During Fr. Leidig's time the presbytery was moved to its present site at 81 Evelina Road. Fr. Leidig was found dead in the presbytery on All Souls Day 1921, after failing to arrive for the early Mass.
The Parish priests from 1996 to 2010 were Fr. Padrig, Fr. Brian, Fr. Pat, Fr. Eddie and Fr. Fegual.
In 2010 it was announced with much regret that the due to the numbers declining in priests in the Sacred Heart Community that they had to leave the community of St. Thomas.
In May 2010 the parish was put in the care of the Missionaries of St. Paul (MSP).
The History of 'St. Thomas the Apostle'
Also known asDidymus; the Twin; Apostle of India; Doubting Thomas
3 July; celebration of the transference of his body to Edessa in Mesopotamia
Apostle. He was ready to die with Jesus when Christ went to Jerusalem, but is best remembered for doubting the Resurrection until allowed to touch Christ's wounds. Preached in Parthia, Persia and India, though he was so reluctant to start the mission that he had to be taken into slavery by a merchant headed that way. He eventually gave in to God's will, was freed, and planted the new Church over a wide area. He formed many parishes and built many churches along the way. His symbol is the builder's square, from an ancient story that built a palace for King Guduphara in India.
stabbed with a spear c.72 in India
against doubt; architects; blind people; builders; construction workers; Ceylon; East Indies; geometricians; India; masons; Pakistan; people in doubt; Sri Lanka; stone masons; stonecutters; surveyors; theologians
Prayer I to...
spear; t-square; builder's rule
Commercial Links related to Saint Thomas
Gallery of images of Saint Thomas
Golden Legend, by Jacobus de Voragine
Readings"Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came." He was the only disciple absent; on his return he heard what had happened but refused to believe it. The Lord came a second time; he offered his side for the disbelieving disciple to touch, held out his hands, and showing the scars of his wounds, healed the wound of disbelief.
Dearly beloved, what do you see in these events? Do you really believe that it was by chance that this chosen disciple was absent, then came and heard, heard and doubted, doubted and touched, touched and believed? It was not by chance but in God's providence. In a marvelous way God's mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his master's body, should heal our wounds of disbelief. The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened. So the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ's wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection.
Touching Christ, he cried out: "'My Lord and my God.' Jesus said to him: 'Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed.'" Paul said: "Faith is the guarantee of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." It is clear, then, that faith is the proof of what cannot be seen. What is seen gives knowledge, not faith. When Thomas saw and touched, why was he told: "You have believed because you have seen me?" Because what he saw and what he believed were different things. God cannot be seen by mortal man. Thomas saw a human being, whom he acknowledged to be God, and said: "My Lord and my God." Seeing, he believed; looking at one who was true man, he cried out that this was God, the God he could not see.
What follows is reason for great joy: "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." There is here a particular reference to ourselves. We are included in these words, but only if we follow up our faith with good works. The true believer practices what he believes. But of those who pay only lip service to faith, Paul has this to say: "They profess to know God, but they deny him in their works." Therefore James says: "Faith without works is dead."
- from a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great
History of Nunhead Cemetery
Nunhead Cemetery is perhaps the least known but most attractive as well as being the second largest of London's Victorian cemeteries.
The first entry was Charles Abbott, a 101-year-old Ipswich grocer and Charterhouse brother and the last, a volunteer soldier who became a Canon of Lahore Cathedral.
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