Today marked the launch of the new apostolate of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, in our diocese.
The Institute was invited in by our bishop, +Campbell, to take over the iconic Church of St Walburge's in Preston, and establish it as a shrine for Eucharistic Adoration.
St Walburge's was opened in 1854, 160 years ago this year. It was designed by Hansom, of Hansom Carriage fame, as was Plymouth Cathedral; both are notable for their tall and elegant spires. St Walburge's also has a fantastic hammerbeam roof consturciton, allowing the nave to be free of pillars, creating an exceptionally spacious interior.
It seats about a thousand people, and by 11.45 it was standing room only for today's inaugural High Mass, at noon, celebrated by the Prior General, Monsignor Wach, in the presence of +Campbell, who preached the homily.
The ceremonies were dignified and joyful. The Mass was in honour of St Walburge (the Mass of a Virgin not a Martyr, Dilexisti). The organ was impressive, and there was a polyphonic choir to sing motets, as well as the schola, which sung the chant proper, and the ordinary (Mass 4).
Monsignor Wach greeted the Bishop before Mass with a brief address in the language of Bossuet, which was translated by one of his priests into the language of Shakespeare.
In his homily, the Bishop welcomed the Institute with great enthusiasm.
This is a major step forward in the diocese, following the example of +Davies at the Dome of Home.
It was a wonderful occasion, and promises to be the start of great things. I will blog more on this, but am being called to eat...
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