I WOULD like to invite you to visit St Swithun’s Catholic Church on February 18, to see inside, maybe light a candle for a loved one, sit in peace, pray, talk with others or just soak up the music.
The church is on Waverley Road, near the traffic light junction with Albert Road, and you can drop in anytime from 6pm until 10pm that night.
You may have passed the church on their way to the shops or seafront, but have never seen inside this beautiful building, or not been inside for many years.
Saturday 18 February is an opportunity to change that. We can offer you a space in the busyness of life to pause and reflect in a peaceful environment.
Catholics in Portsmouth are coming together to offer this opportunity under the ‘Nightfever’ banner.
Founded after World Youth Day in 2006, Nightfever is run in Catholic Churches nationally and internationally.
Their church doors remain open on a Saturday evening and people are invited to enter and spend however long they like in the music-filled atmosphere, in candlelight, and with the opportunity to talk to someone about whatever comes to mind.
Since 2012, the evenings have been held in St Mary’s Catholic Church in Gosport and hundreds of people, whether Christians or not, have welcomed the opportunity to pop in on their way out for the evening and found it a truly healing experience.
There are many different responses that our visitors have written. One said: ‘Thank you for something I have never done before.’
Another said: ‘I miss my mum, lovely surprise on a rare night out.’
Others have said things such as: ‘I said a prayer for my mum’; ‘Very apt that we were invited in on the first anniversary of losing my brother in law’ and ‘Thank you for a beautiful time for my first time in Church”.
One story that has forever remained in my head is of a woman who was on her way to a wedding reception in Gosport, along with her husband.
Although she was running late, she came inside St Mary’s and told our volunteer about her husband’s friend who had been sailing. He had slipped, hit his head and died instantly.
She lit a candle in memory of him, and her husband followed suit.
They said that they were both touched by the serenity and peace, so much so that they told their mother, who left the reception to light a candle too.
I hope you will also come along and seek a quiet moment – to pray, to reflect and to remember.