Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saving St Walburge`s

Let`s pray that things go smoothly on Monday. It was a great pity that the Institute of Christ the King failed to get Everingham in the Middlesborough diocese a couple of years back. This would be a tremendous breakthrough if it comes off. From the Lancashire Evening Post.

Italian bid to save city church
A religious group and a mystery benefactor are bidding to save Preston's St Walburge's Church

By Jenny Simpson and James Reader
An iconic Preston church could be saved by a mystery donor and an Italian religious group.

The Institute of Christ the King wants to take over the running and restoration of St Walburge's which has been earmarked for closure under reform plans by the cash-strapped Diocese of Lancaster.

Fr William Hudson, the Florence-based order's UK representative, will meet Bishop of Lancaster Patrick O'Donoghue on Monday to discuss the proposals.

A private donor has offered to give £100,000 to St Walburge's if the Institute of Christ the King gets the go-ahead from the bishop.Fr Hudson said he had been impressed by the levels of support for keeping the Pedder Street church open when he gave Latin masses there last month.

He said it had been estimated £2.5m would be needed in the longer term to run the Roman Catholic church, a large proportion of which could be obtained from public bodies like English Heritage and other trusts set up for the purpose of keeping historic churches open.

Fr Hudson, the head of Brussels International Catholic School in Belgium, declined to give details on the donor but said parishioners would be consulted on the ideas.

Parishioner Jim Aherne said: "St Walburge's is part of the city's history and we must preserve it for future generations."

Preston Council is backing the fight to keep St Walburge's open after it passed a motion calling on the Diocese to retain it as a place of worship for "the foreseeable future".

Coun Bill Shannon said: "The Diocese must move heaven and Earth. We cannot do much about heaven, but we can do plenty about Earth."Council chief executive Jim Carr will now write to Bishop O'Donoghue calling on him to keep the church open.

But the Bishop said talk of transferring ownership of the church was premature.


Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

I understand English Heritage has promised a substantial sum for the preservation of the historic St. Walburge's Church, Preston ( which is a Grade I listed building), provided its owners can raise sufficient funds.

It really should not be that difficult to attract donations if the will to save it is there.

Et Expecto said...

I have little doubt that if the Institute of Christ the King is allowed to take over St Walberge's, and provided quality liturgy in the usus antiquior, it would attract large congregations.

I also have little doubt that the money required for its restoration and upkeep could be found. I for one would make a generous donation.

Is there anyone else who would back the proposal?

Anonymous said...

"I have little doubt that if the Institute of Christ the King is allowed to take over St Walberge's, and provided quality liturgy in the usus antiquior, it would attract large congregations."

I agree entirely. Let's hope the propect does not deter the bishop.

I pray that he sees this for the providential opportunity which it surely is.

Anonymous said...

Preston badly needs traditional catholicism and St. Walburge's needs the ICKSP. Please pray for these intentions.

I too am confident that the money required to sustain this church will be found, if the leadership and faith are there. I believe that the ICKSP can provide these and can give the example to invigorate the whole diocese - if only hearts can be opened! Pray that they will be.