|Interior of St. Walburge's Catholic Church|
But now the Bishop of Lancaster has announced the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, which celebrates the traditional Tridentine Mass, could be conducting services in the church by the autmun. “The future of St Walburge’s Church came into very serious question in the light of much fewer people at Mass in this vast and yet most beautiful church,” said Bishop Michael Campbell in a statement read out at Preston churches on Sunday.Imagine facing a future where the presence of the Catholic Church is "finished". Now imagine you are responsible for making the difficult decisions of what to do? The Bishop of Lancaster apparently facing just such a scenario, decides to take drastic measures by bringing in something "new"! A new shape and form! In this case, the Extraordinary Form in the shape of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. What does the good Bishop expect from this move?? A strengthened "missionary presence and vitality".
“The arrival and presence of the Institute at St Walburge’s will enable the sustainability and care of this magnificent church so that it can be open each day as a shrine or centre for Eucharistic devotion and adoration.”
St Walburge’s was built in 1847 and its spire is the third tallest in the UK. But falling attendances - a cause for concern within inner Preston - meant it could have faced decommission.
“There are some voices - even now - who tell me that the presence of the Catholic Church in inner Preston is finished,” added Bishop Campbell. “I cannot agree. We need to be here in a new shape and form and at the same time to strengthen our missionary presence and vitality.”
But I thought the New Mass...??? Well don't you fret.
St Walburge’s will continue to celebrate the Ordinary Form Mass on a Sunday for as long as there is a need.For as long as there is a need. Prophetic words indeed.