The United Benefice of Sharnbrook, Felmersham and Knotting with Souldrop Ecumenical Link wuth the Catholic Parish of Christ the Worker - Calpino - Italy


8.    Visit to Calpino, Urbino and Castelcavallino  1st - 5th. November 2007.

9.    Visit by Italian Delegation  from the dioceses of Fano, Pesaro and Urbino headed by

      Archbishop Coccia of  Pesaro.   Week of Prayer for Christian Unity  - 19th to 21st January 2008.

10.  Visit to Sharnbrook and an Ordination service at St. Albans 25th.- 30th. September 2008

11.  Pilgrimage to Rome 18th. – 25th. June 2009 for 'Pauline Year Celebrations'

12.  The Wedding of Ubaldo Ragnoni and Laura  Pasotto 28 / 8/ 2010.

13.  Ecumenical Holiday to Pozza di Fassa  18 -24 July 2011.

8. Visit to Calpino, Urbino and Castelcavallino  1st - 5th. November 2007

Ten people from St. Peter's Sharnbrook including Robert Evens and his wife Caroline arranged to visit our link parish - Calpino over the weekend 1st. – 5th. November and provide a ‘thank you’ meal for our host families and friends there. Don Peppino, the parish priest has been unwell and on sabbatical for the last year.  We wanted to make a gesture of good will to our friends in Calpino and try to repay some of their wonderful love and hospitality shown to us on our previous visits. The venue chosen was a house owned by the Urbino diocese at Castelcavallino, a beautiful village around 8 km North of Urbino and a convenient distance from Calpino. It contained a hall which provided suitable space for the forty guests which we invited from the parish.  The evening was enjoyable and succesful.  Don Peppino was fortunately able to join us for the meal and together with Ubaldo and Don Fabio (who is currently looking after the parish) expressed the thanks of all after the meal. Following some sightseeing in Urbino on Saturday with lunch at the seminary, we were invited to observe an orthodox wedding held in the seminary chapel followed by a meeting with the orthodox priest Fr. Victor. On Sunday we enjoyed our usual joint act of worship at the main Mass in the Church of ‘Christ the Worker’ in Calpino at which Robert gave the address. This was followed by lunch provided for us by the ladies of the parish in the local Red Cross hall. Some pictures of the weekend follow.

9.    Visit by Italian Delegation  from the dioceses of Fano, Pesaro and Urbino headed by

      Archbishop Coccia of  Pesaro.   Week of Prayer for Christian Unity  - 19th to 21st January 2008.

Bishop Christopher Herbert of St. Alban’s invited the above delegation for this most important visit – the first time our Italian link diocese had visited England for the ‘Week of Prayer and Christian Unity.’  Sharnbrook was host to four of the nineteen strong delegation:-  Don Giorgio Paolini, ecumenical delegate for Pesaro diocese, don Francesco Pierpaoli – regional responsibility for young people, Ubaldo Ragnoni – Urbino and Calpino representative and Raffaella Antonioli from Borgo Sta Maria parish in Pesaro. On Saturday evening a special event for all link parish representatives was held in Redbourn Village Hall. A presentation of diocesan issues was given by Bishop Christopher.   Our four Sharnbrook guests were back in  St. Peter’s at 9.00 a.m. Sunday morning for their own Mass.   This was shortly followed at 10.15 a.m. by our own Churches Together Unity service. We were joined by the Felmersham  congregation as well as our Catholic and Methodist friends from Sharnbrook.  A lunch followed at 12.30 p.m. in St. Peter’s Room where our four guests were joined by some of our own host families and friends. We were delighted to have Canon Ian Arthur and his wife Heather with us for this occasion. Following a word of thanks by Ubaldo on behalf of our Italian guests, don Francesco presented Robert with a green Stole.   At 2.15 p.m. fifteen people from Sharmnbrook accompanied our four guests in the ‘Villager’ and one car to St. Alban’s Abbey where the main event of the weekend was to start  at 4.00 p.m.   Following music and a talk by Pam Rhodes the Dean – Dr. Jeffrey John gave the welcome prayer and other prayers and readings were led by Major Gerald Peacock of the Salvation Army, Bishop Samuel Campbell – the New Testament Church of God, Ann Brown – Chair of Essex and Herts Methodist Church and Revd. Roberta Rominger – Moderator of the  Thames North Synod of the United Reformed Church. The preacher was Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP. More music was performed by the visiting musicians and particularly the Abbey Choir  who sang the Nunc Dimittis by Gustav Holst and an anthem by Philip Moore. The climax was the signing of an agreement by Bishop Christopher and the Archbishop of Pesaro.  The agreement read as follows: We the undersigned, representatives of the dioceses of Fano, Urbino and Pesaro and the diocese of St Albans, through the grace of God, the Holy Trinity, acknowledge with thanksgiving and delight the friendship we enjoy.  On this one hundredth anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we commit ourselves to deepening our companionship in our Lord Jesus Christ, to proclaiming the Gospel in Word and Sacrament, and through prayer, study, and the development of mutual respect and understanding will continue to seek for that unity which our Lord offers as his gift to the Church and to the world.

10.  Visit to Sharnbrook and an Ordination service at St. Albans 25th.- 30th. September 2008

This visit had a dual purpose. 1) A group from from our link diocese of Urbino and Fano had been invited to attend the ordination of Rev. Oliver Learmont from St. Mary's Church Hitchin. Oliver had visited the link diocese as interpreter for Bishop Christopher earlier in the year and invited representatives to attend his ordination to be held on Sunday 28th. September at St. Alban's Abbey.  2) It presented an opportunity for Sharnbrook parish to return the hospitality for several visits to Calpino over the last five years. The group consisted of don Fabio (assistant priest from Fermignano and Calpino), Carla Pandolfi, Olidano and their grandson Lorenzo, Silvia Crivelli, Flavia Catena and her son Davide. For most of the group it was their first time in England and so we arranged trips to Cambridge and London on the 26th. and 27th. respectively to show them places of interest. On Friday evening we had a joint 'Act of Worship' in St. Peter's Sharnbrook followed by a meal and fellowship in our Church room. Gifts between Sharnbrook and Calpino were exchanged remembering don Peppino who had been unable to come on this occasion. The ordination on Sunday at the Abbey was a very special occasion with a  welcome to our guests from Bishop Christopher (In Italian). He was also able to give them a blessing at the communion. An enjoyable reception at Oliver's house followed. Monday was a more relaxed day visiting nearby Bedford and enjoying a final joint meal at the 'Pizza Hut'.   Early on Tuesday the group departed for home concluding a very meaningful and enjoyable weekend for all concerned.

11. Sharnbrook - Calpino Link – Pilgrimage to Rome 18th. – 25th. June 2009

St. Paul was thought to have been born around eight years after Jesus and therefore a bimillenium jubilee year was inaugurated in Rome to run until June 29 2009 and called ‘The Pauline Year’. St. Peter’s received an invitation from the Urbino diocese in the Marche region of Italy, to join an ecumenical pilgrimage to Rome over the weekend 20-21st. June in order to visit the main sites associated with St. Paul. Accordingly a group of nine from St. Peter’s set off on Thursday 18th. June bound for Rimini where we were transported to Urbino to join our friends in Calpino for an evening act of worship followed by dinner. As usual we were given a royal welcome and many friends from previous visits arrived to greet us. Prior to our visit we had raised a special appeal for the Italian Earthquake and they were very appreciative and moved by the news of our donation to date of over £600. My thanks to all who contributed to this appeal. On Friday we explored Urbino and later in the day were treated to a tour of the Ducal Palace where an exhibition of Raffaello’s artwork was also displayed. A 5 a.m. start on Saturday saw us leave with forty other pilgrims for Rome by coach. It was a truly ecumenical mix which included twenty people from the orthodox faith around Urbino led by their priest Fr. Victor with don Peppino and don Fabio leading the Catholic group. On arrival in Rome our first stop was the ‘Abbey of the three fountains’ – now a Benedictine monastery but also containing the site of the imprisonment and execution of St. Paul. Following a short act of worship and lunch we moved on to the Vatican and the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica and were given a tour by our excellent guide Paula, who really looked after our Anglican contingent with her excellent command of English. We then moved on to the main Basilica and place of burial of St. Paul – ‘St Paul’s outside the walls’ for evening vespers and thence to our Hotel at Torre Maura. Early on Sunday we arrived at the Basilica of St. John Lateran – the original ‘Mother Church’ and part of the papal residence until 1305 and the building of St. Peter’s. The tour of the magnificent building included the 14th. C. tabernacle containing the relics of St. Peter and St. Paul.  In a nearby building was the ‘Holy Staircase’, brought by Helen -the mother of Constantine - from Jerusalem. We then returned to ‘St. Paul’s outside the walls’ for a detailed tour of the Church and the Tomb of St. Paul and then the climax of the pilgrimage – an ecumenical Mass – at the main altar concelebrated by don Peppino and don Fabio. We were able to join in the intercessions and received a blessing at the communion – making for a very moving and meaningful experience.   Following a final lunch together, the Anglican group said goodbye to our returning friends and spent a few extra days in Rome enjoying the sights and the food.

12.  The Wedding of Ubaldo Ragnoni and Laura  Pasotto 28 / 8/ 2010.

Colin and Hazel Scott were fortunate to be invited to this wonderful occasion as representatives of St. Peter's Sharnbrook. Ubi had been to Sharnbrook several times and had got to know many people in the parish. As part of our gift from Sharnbrook to the happy couple we produced an album of pictures and messages from these couples and families which was truly gratefully (and emotionally) received. The wedding was performed by don Fabio at the beautiful Church of San Cassiano, Castelcavallino in the hills above Urbino. The reception was held at Sant' Ippolito near Pesaro. It was a beautiful day and Colin and Hazel met up with many friends from the link visits over the previous seven years. 

13.  Ecumenical Holiday to Pozza di Fassa  18 -24 July 2011.

A group of eleven people from St. Peter’s Church were fortunate to attend this holiday to join with   seven others from the Bishops Stortford area to meet up with our friends from the Catholic diocese of Fano, Pesaro and our own link diocese of Urbino in Italy. The holiday was intended to include young people and therefore five of our own Youth Group joined Rev. Robert Evens, Rev. Thomas Sander and four other adults from Sharnbrook.  The Italian group of ten, mainly from Fano  included two teenagers who soon made good friends with our own young people. Our base for the week ‘Villa San Carlo’ in the beautiful ‘Val de Fassa’ of the Dolomite area is owned by the Fano diocese and as usual in Italy, the hospitality was warm and the food excellent. A varied programme had been arranged for us by don  Marzio and don Vincenzo, enabling us to take advantage of our surroundings as well as Christian worship and fellowship with each other. The Villa contained a small chapel where we held joint Morning Prayer and Evening Communion services. Our visits included:   a)  The city of Trent with a tour of the impressive Ecumenical Centre, the Cathedral and the Castle of Buonsiglio (home to the medieval Prince-Bishops of Trent.) b)  The picturesque sanctuary ‘Madonna di Pietralba’, home to an order of Friars: ‘The Servants of Mary’ and a place of retreat. c)  The city of Bolzano where we visited the famous ‘Otzi’ (Iceman) museum together with the Cathedral. Other days were spent walking and climbing the wonderful hills and mountains around Pozza di Fassa and enjoying the stunning scenery.
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