Sunday 4 October 2009

Our 150th Anniversary

On the north side of the sanctuary there is a plaque dedicated to the memory of Dean Richard Mechiades Brown, the priest who oversaw the building of this fine church. It shows the founder holding the church in his hand. 150 years ago today this church of St Peter, Prince of the Apostles, was consecrated by Dr Alexander Goss, the Bishop of Liverpool. The ceremony was not open to the general public, as it required that nearly all of the floor space was kept clear. The church was opened on 6th October 1859, and in 1924 it was raised to Cathedral status, becoming the seat of the Bishop of Lancaster.

Throughout the year we have been marking the anniversary with great events, and many of you have been following them on this blog. Today the main liturgical celebration takes place: a number of bishops from across northern England will join Bishop Campbell for the celebration of Mass this morning at 10:30am; many will also be present for Vespers this afternoon at 4:40pm (all welcome). Rt Rev. Malcolm McMahon OP, Bishop of Nottingham, will preach at both, as it was the Bishop of Nottingham who preached when the church was opened in 1859. At the 50th anniversary and the centenary of the church, many improvements were made to the fabric of the building and to items used in the liturgy. Financial restrictions have limited the possibility of any great improvements for this year, but a number of enhancements have been made: for example, the organ restoration work has more or less reached its conclusion, the St Thérèse cloister garden has been created. Among the smaller improvements, new cassocks (in episcopal purple) and cottas for altar servers have been purchased; some money was raised for this purpose by parishioners, who were conscious of the poor state of the existing set. The new robes are being worn at Mass for the first time this weekend.

The events of the day are being captured on camera and the blog will provide extensive coverage of the anniversary day, before returning to the final St Thérèse posts. After today the parish will celebrate an octave of the dedication, using different side altars for the weekday Masses and celebrating sung Vespers each day (Mon-Sat, Exposition 5pm and Vespers 5:30pm). All are welcome.