A spree of festivities for Holy Ghost Genoa

For Holy Ghost Genoa the Platinum weekend was special in more ways than one. Alongside marking Pentecost, they also had a very special anniversary to celebrate.

Bishop David visited Genoa for a triple celebration at Pentecost.   The Patronal Festival Eucharist on Sunday 5 June was a splendid celebration with two baptisms and a confirmation. Consigliere Delegato Vittorio Ottonello was also present, representing the city’s Mayor.

The service was a central part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the church building to the glory of God the Holy Ghost, by Bishop Charles Harris of Gibraltar in 1872. The chaplaincy received anniversary greetings from the Lutheran Church in Genoa, from the Anglican congregation in Bordighera, from Milan, Liverpool, East Anglia, Sicily, and Varese. 

Anniversary celebrations began the day before, with an aperitivo and the launch of the Revd Canon Tony Dickinson’s forthcoming book “Redeemed from Fire”, a history of the church. The title of the book is taken from the fourth “movement” of Little Gidding, the last of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. This section of the poem links the firestorm resulting from an air raid with the fiery manifestation of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). It was inspired by Eliot’s experience as a fire-watcher during the London Blitz of 1940 and has clear relevance to the experience of Genova, and particularly to the Church of the Holy Ghost, two years later.

“Redeemed from Fire” tells the story of the Church of England in Genoa, from its first gathering at the residence of the British Consul, James Sterling, in the years immediately after the battle of Waterloo, until the present day.

This story includes both triumph and tragedy, and the near catastrophe when a Lancaster bomber taking part in an air raid on the port of Genoa in autumn 1942 missed its dockside target and sent an incendiary bomb crashing through the church roof. It tells, too, how the scattered members of the English-speaking “colony” in Genoa returned after 1945 to renew their community and to rebuild their church, surviving sacramentally for half a century thanks to a monthly visit from the chaplain in Milan and relying for most of their pastoral care on the mutual support of the lay members of the congregation.

“150 for 150”

To further mark the significant milestone of 150 years, Holy Ghost Genoa have also launched an anniversary appeal: the Church Council invites all who wish to become one of the “Hundred and Fifty for a Hundred and Fifty”, by committing themselves to give at least €150 to the church’s restoration fund. An anonymous donor has offered to match donations made to the church between the beginning of June and the end of October.

They hope this will enable them to renew the work which was carried out in the years immediately after the Second World War and which is now showing its age. It will also provide the funding to enable the church to continue its 150-year history as a centre of Christian worship and pastoral care for English-speakers in Genoa.

Donations can be made in instalments or as a whole, as long as donors mark their gift clearly as “150 for 150”:

By cash, using the special envelope available from the church
By banker’s order (please contact the chaplain for details)
Through the “Just Giving” link here:
Please note: Donors giving through a bank or through the Diocese in Europe website, are asked to state clearly that their donation is for the “Holy Ghost Genoa 150 for 150 Appeal”.