04 July 2015
FSSP to Take Charge of Church in Warrington
The Archdiocese of Liverpool has announced that the Priestly Society of St Peter is to take charge of the Church of St Mary in Warrington. It will not be a parish church, as the parish is to be merged with two others; but it will be for the sole use of the FSSP and will eventually become an exclusively usus extraordinaria church. St Mary's is a very fine example of the later work of E W Pugin, and was completed after his death by his brother Peter Paul Pugin. It is also a large church in a central area of Warrington. For the FSSP, it will be their first church in England where they will have exclusive use, as the church that they currently use in Reading also has parish Masses, and is used for other purposes. St Mary's is also a far more prestigious church, and seems to have avoided any significant reordering. For example, the pulpit and communion rails are intact, and the forward altar can easily be moved. It is interesting to note that all three of the churches that have been handed over for exclusive use by traditional orders are in the North West. The first was Sts Peter, Paul and Philomina in New Brighton (Shrewsbury Diocese), which was followed by St Walburge in Preston (Lancaster Diocese), both of these were entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. To these can now be added St Mary in Warrington (Liverpool Archdiocese). A possible reason for this concentration in the North West is that it is a traditionally Catholic part of the country, having more Catholic churches than is required nowadays. If this is the reason, then we might expect the next development to be in the Salford Diocese, which has a very large number of underused churches.