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Bishop gives Preston’s local treasure to traditionalists

Bishop Campbell of Lancaster (Mazur)

A local treasure church in Preston has been granted a new lease of life after being allocated to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster announced on Sunday that Mgr Gilles Wach, General Prior of the institute, together with parish priest Fr Simon Hawksworth, have agreed to establish a foundation of the Institute at the Church of St Walburge, Preston, in the early autumn.

Bishop Campbell said that the arrival of the institute meant that the church will now be open every day with Eucharistic adoration and devotion.

Masses will be celebrated in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms.

Fr Robert Billing, spokesman for the Diocese of Lancaster, said: “The members of the Institute will work in close collaboration with parish priest Fr Simon Hawksworth.”

“Importantly, the announcement of this initiative – following 12 months of negotiations – delivers good news: it will ensure the future sustainability and patrimony of St Walburge’s church; a church so dear to local Catholics and many others in Preston. Thankfully, this announcement means St Walburge’s is secured for the future, will be used each day for prayer and cared for as it continues to bear witness to the faith and mission of the Catholic Church in Preston.”

The church was designed by the Gothic revival architect Joseph Hansom and opened on August 3 1854.


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