On Saturday, I attended the Mass at St Mary's Church in Warrington at which the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter took over responsibility for the church. The Priory Church of St Mary was formerly owned and staffed by Ampleforth Abbey although the monks withdrew in 2012, since when it has been served by diocesan priests.
In the last few weeks, Ampleforth Abbey has transferred the ownership of the building to the FSSP, and the Archbishop of Liverpool has entrusted the FSSP to serving the Latin Mass communities in and around Warrington. It really does look as if the Latin Mass will prosper in that part of the world.
Not only is the church, designed by E W Pugin and completed by his half brother Peter Paul Pugin, a very beautiful one; but it has survived relatively unscathed from the process of Post Vatican II reordering. The one casualty has been the high altar, which has been reduced to little more than a shelf, although the splendid reredos remains.. Reinstatement of the High altar would be relatively simple, but could not be done immediately, due to the process required for changes to Listed Buildings.
The Church of St Mary in Warrington has a strong choral tradition, and the polyphonic choir sang well at the Mass. The FSSP are very lucky to be taking over a church with a quality choir already in place. It also seems that the congregation are supportive of the idea of Latin Masses. I understand that in 2012 when it was announced that the Benedictines would be withdrawing, it was members of the congregation that suggested an FSSP takeover. It has taken three years for this to happen.
The church will be served by Fr de Malleray FSSP, and for the next few months he will be assisted by Marcus Williams who is a seminarian with the FSSP.
Rosary on the Coast
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