The historic church of St Thomas of Canterbury and the English Martyrs in Preston has been entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
It is the second church in the town to be handed over to the institute, which is dedicated to the traditional Latin Mass.
In his homily Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster said this was a “fresh chapter” in the life of the church.
“It is not a break with the past, but this wonderful church has been given a new lease of life, and so remains a house of prayer reminding all Catholics of the wonderful and inspiring legacy of the Lancashire martyrs,” he said.
“The decor and beauty of our church buildings, such as the one we are in today, are intended to assist us raise our hearts and minds to the One who is the source of all order and beauty in the universe, the Lord God almighty,” the bishop said. “This splendid, iconic church, so dear to so many past and present Preston generations of Catholics, will still fulfil its mission through its cycle of liturgical and devotional life of leading the faithful to the springs of living water, promised us by Christ.”
The grade II-listed church will become a shrine to the English Martyrs and will be open every day. It remains part of St John XXIII parish and one of its priests will celebrate an Ordinary Form Mass in the church each Saturday evening, at least for the next 12 months.
Three years ago the institute took responsibility for the grade I-listed St Walburge’s Church in Preston. Last year the diocese gave St Ignatius’s church in Preston to the Syro-Malabar community, to become the cathedral for the new eparchy.
Congolese priest tells MPs: my country is gripped by fear
A priest from the Democratic Republic of Congo has warned British parliamentarians of a crisis unfolding in his country.
Mgr Donatien Nshole, secretary general of the DR Congo’s bishops’ conference, told MPs that violence and political tension were spreading and there was now a “highly worrying situation which should set off loud alarm bells”.
In the Grand Kasai region, he said, 3,000 people had been killed and 30,000 had fled to neighbouring Angola.
The crisis was sparked by President Joseph Kabila refusing to step down last year. Mgr Nshole helped to mediate a deal between Mr Kabila and the opposition for elections to be held by the end of this year. However, it is unclear if the President will honour it.
“There is a climate of fear, the closer we get to the proposed election date of December 2017, the tensions rise,” Mgr Nshole said. “We, the Church, have called on the people to demonstrate peacefully and stand up for their rights. But every time people demonstrate peacefully they face the violence of law enforcement forces.
“We receive troubling reports of kidnappings and assassinations.”
Pope honours SVP volunteer
An 83-year-old altar server and volunteer for the Society of St Vincent de Paul has been honoured by Pope Francis with a Benemerenti Medal.
Christopher Duke received the award after a Mass at the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Bernard of Clairvaux, Ellesmere Port. Fr Niall Mullaley said his contribution to the SVP was vast.
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