Catholic Life

Stonyhurst celebrates re-opening of its church

The Mass of Celebration at Stonyhurst College marking the re-opening of St Peter’s church

Stonyhurst College in Lancashire celebrated the re-opening of its church, St Peter’s, last month, after its year-long closure for extensive restoration and conservation work.

A congregation of 900 pupils, parents, staff and alumni from Stonyhurst College attended a Mass of Celebration for the re-opening of St Peter’s church. The principal celebrant was Fr Dermot Preston SJ, Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain. The choir sang Vivaldi’s Gloria, accompanied by the Stonyhurst Orchestra, which also played the opening hymn, Vaughan Williams’s arrangement of “All creatures that on earth do dwell”. The head boy, head girl and headmaster read the readings and pupils of all ages read the bidding prayers.

St Peter’s is a Grade I listed building constructed by the Jesuits for Stonyhurst and its parish in the early 1830s. One of the first Catholic churches to be built after Emancipation in 1829, it is an important example of church architecture in the Gothic Revival Perpendicular style. Masons have replaced large expanses of stone eroded by wind and rain. Stained-glass windows have been re-leaded and cleaned. Stencilling from the 1850s and 1950s, previously covered by whitewash, has been painstakingly re-painted, and the magnificent ceiling has been restored.