Saturday 4 July 2015

First Church in UK for the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter

It has now been publicly announced that St Mary's Church in Warrington is to be looked after by the FSSP - the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. 

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon

From the St Mary's Church website:

“I have invited the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter to come to the archdiocese and to have responsibility for St Mary’s Church, Warrington. In due course this will become a centre for the celebration of the extraordinary form of Mass and the sacraments. The priests of this fraternity will not, however, assume pastoral responsibility for St Mary’s parish, which will be the responsibility of Fr David Heywood [soon to be PP of the neighbouring parishes] from September.”

St Mary's is a fine church with a strong and intact musical tradition. The church was designed by E. W. Pugin and its construction started in 1875, just before Pugin's death. It was completed by Peter Paul Pugin in 1877. The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner considered it to be one of their best churches.

It was looked after by the Ampleforth Benedictines until 2012, It is in a good site, right in the centre of Warrington town centre, which is a particular help for any church without a geographical territory.  Great news for the FSSP, as they have a number of English vocations and until now have been based only in their house in Reading, with access for Mass to the local church.  I know some of their excellent priests and visited their seminary in 2012.  May the Lord bless this new venture in the Archdiocese of Liverpool.  It is now the third church in the Northwest to be given over to the Mass and Sacraments celebrated in the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite.  The Institute in New Brighton in Shrewsbury Diocese and the Institute in Preston in Lancaster Diocese are about forty minutes driving time in opposite directions from Warrington.


Anonymous said...

Good news! Now for one in West Cornwall we pray.

Sixupman said...

Needs must! What was the alternative? Abandonment!

Anonymous said...

Some of the parishioners had sought this transition to the FSSP in January 2012 when Ampleforth Abbey announced that they would leave the parish of St.Mary, Warrington, this decision is not just a case of expediency on the part of the Archdiocese of Liverpool. A number of requests have been submitted the the Archbishop, in light of the motu proprio,Summorum Pontificum, since 2012 by a number of parishioners. This is a win-win scenario for many of the current St.Mary's parishioners, the FSSP, and the Catholic Church in England as whole. Deo gratias!

St.Mary's has an excellent choir and a superb stipendiary Director of Music, I now pray that they will be retained by the FSSP and that this precious cultural asset safeguarded.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr.

You could have mentioned that the beauty of the church and the excellence of it's choir inspired a vocation to the priesthood which came to fulfilment this morning with the ordination of Rev. Fr Matthew Jolley.

David O'Neill said...

I believe our bishop in H&N refused Fr de Mallery permission to come to our diocese some months ago.

Clement said...

No pastoral duties so not fulltime priests then! What's the point?

Sixupman said...

Two Points:

FSSP already had a church in Edinburgh - I think?

No pastoral responsibility in Warrington, i.e. the church is not to be the parish church, are the diocese curia attempting to limit contamination of their diminishing congregations with that 'Old Time Religion'?

Fr Simon Henry said...

Clement & Sixupman, What that actually means is a technical term - the church and the Fraternity will not be responsible for a geographical territory like a normal parish. It is the same arrangement for the Institute churches in Preston and New Brighton - and for many Religious Houses. However, I understand that St Mary's will be able to conduct the other sacraments for those who attend there, such as baptisms and funerals. The idea that they will not be engaged in any pastoral work, in the sense of caring for the spiritual and material needs of those who attend and beyond, and indeed anyone they come into contact with in need, is ridiculous. Knowing some of the priests of the Fraternity, I am sure they will be very active in outreach and charity in a great many ways.

Neil Addison said...

Re your reply Fr Simon I suspect that the announcement from the Diocese could have been better worded but only at the expense of making it too complicated.

I think what the announcement was trying to do was to reassure existing members of St Mary's Parish who want to continue to attend Mass in the ordinary Form. They may well have wondered whether they were now going to be required to attend Mass at St Mary's in the Extraordinary Form. What the announcement was I suspect trying to explain was existing parishioners of St Mary's continue to be Parishioners of St Mary's but they will be served by by a Parish Priest providing Services in the Ordinary Form from another Church building.

Under Canon Law 515; 2 & 3 the Parish of St Mary's has a legal personality and cannot be suppressed or altered by the Archbishop arbitarily and in accordance with Canon Law the Archbishop has not suppressed or altered the Parish, however the Parish Church itself will under the FSSP become a special Church for the entire Diocese providing servces in the EF for those members of the Parish who wish to attend and for any others in the Diocese. The Church and the Priests will not have a "Parish" as such but they will undoubtedly develop a regular "Congregation" just as ICKSP Churches have and they will provide Pastoral care to that congregation.

I certainly hope there will not be any objectors to the announcement since providing a Church for the FSSP does not deprive any Church of Priests but rather increases the number of Priests in the Docese as a whole and that surely has to be a good thing.

Fr Simon Henry said...

Yes Neil, the many alterations to parishes and closures are always announced under the terms of canon law and I'm sure the Archbishop will have proceeded accordingly.