The Church of Corpus Christi in Covent Garden, London, has unveiled a new high altar as part of a major restoration project.
When the church was opened in 1874, Cardinal Henry Manning, the Archbishop of Westminster, said: “A sanctuary has been opened to be specifically devoted to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.”
It was the first Catholic church to be named for Corpus Christi – the feast of Christ’s Body and Blood – since the Reformation. Its construction was intended as reparation for the crimes against the Blessed Sacrament committed in England since the 16th century.
With the encouragement of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the parish priest Fr Alan Robinson has begun to renovate Corpus Christi, sometimes known as “the actors’ church’’. The narthex and Sacred Heart chapel have been restored, and earlier this month the high altar was unveiled.
The back wall is now covered with gold leaf to signify God’s majesty and three carved angels sit over the tabernacle, as a reminder that heaven and earth come together in the Mass. Above are 600 handcrafted and gilded stars.
Parish administrator Alex Dimminger said: “The way the sanctuary opens up into the heavens reminds us that we do not come to God alone.
“When we approach the altar, we join ourselves to the countless angels, saints, thrones and dominions who praise and glorify God on high,” he said.
The next stage of the restoration involves renovating the nave, the floors and the pews, as well as updating the heating and lighting systems. The parish is accepting donations at corpuschristimaidenlane.org.uk/donate.
It also hopes to become a centre of Eucharistic devotion. Fr Robinson has launched the Sodality of the Blessed Sacrament. On the first Thursday of each month, a Mass will be celebrated with a choir and a different guest preacher on the Blessed Sacrament. Mass will be followed by Adoration and Benediction.
Episcopal remains exhumed from Nottingham cathedral
The mortal remains of a bishop who was buried in Nottingham have been exhumed in order for his body to be returned to Tasmania, where he once served as bishop.
The remains of Bishop Robert Willson, a priest in Nottingham who became the first Bishop of Hobart, Tasmania, are being transferred from St Barnabas’s Cathedral in Nottingham to St Mary’s Cathedral in Hobart.
Bishop Willson, born in Lincoln in 1794, was a convert from Anglicanism. After becoming a priest he built St John the Evangelist Church, the first purpose-built Catholic church in Nottingham since the Reformation. He had a particular interest in helping prisoners and the mentally ill.
In 1844, he was appointed the first Bishop of Hobart, where he was noted for his work for the welfare of convicts. Ill health led him to return to England and he died in Nottingham in 1866.
His exhumation follows years of correspondence between the bishops of Nottingham and Hobart. Bishop Patrick McKinney said the diocese would “miss having his remains in the crypt of our cathedral” but it was always Bishop Willson’s intention to return to Tasmania.
Bishop: Britain is failing prisoners
Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel and Brighton has said that Britain is “categorically failing to care for” soaring numbers of prisoners.
He said: “The levels of suicide, self-harm, violence and mental health difficulties in our prisons are unacceptable in any civilised society. I hope the Government seriously considers options to safely reduce the prison population, such as earned early release schemes.”
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