Usually parishes never close for business, but if it is a parish which specifically caters to students the summer is a very quiet time indeed. That is why St. Augustine’s, in which I am involved as a member of the PR/organisation committee, marks the end of the academic year with some sort of event, restarting operations again in August. This year our plan was to host a barbecue, but the weather forecasts being less than positive, we decided to turn it into a pizza dinner at the last minute (read: a day before).
We started with Mass at 6, as usual on a Sunday, and then we relocated to the parish hall. Drinks were drunk, conversation started to flow and pizzas were ordered. The turn-up was larger than I had expected, and I was quite optimistic. It struck more than one of us that one of the things that could attract students to our activities is our international flavour. Six nationalities – Dutch, German, Austrian, Italian, Polish and Ugandan – were represented last night. Luckily, that international flavour has slowly come to the fore more often now that we have begun working closer towards the people attending the Saturday evening vigil Mass, which is in English.
Once the pizzas had arrived (with 17 pizzas it was, I fear, a bit of a tall order for the pizzeria we chose, so we had to wait about an hour), Father Wagenaar opened with a short prayer and then pizzas were tucked into. The wine and beer flowed freely and the atmosphere was very good. Some people already knew us and each other, but others were new, but no one was left out, as far as I could see.
By the time the dishes were put in the dishwasher and the parish hall returned to semblance of normality, it was close to 11, but I cycled home feeling very content. We had worked quite hard in the last days to make it a success and it worked.
Now that I am writing about St. Augustine’s, I might as well include a link to the parish’s website, which is available in both English and Dutch.
And for the committee that runs to practical side of parish events, it is now time to start working towards the period between summer and Christmas. Lots of plans, and hopefully also lots of new people to get to know us.
And in the meantime, I’m grateful for last night.