Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Blessing of the new FSSP house in Reading

2010 10 03_7710
St John Fisher House

After the Mass celebrated by the Very Rev Fr John Berg, Superior General of the Fraternity of St Peter, which was the subject of my last post, all the faithful were invited to the house which now belongs to the FSSP's English apostolate round the corner from the church. Fr Berg blessed the house, and we all enjoyed a buffet lunch and explored it: it is surprisingly large, with nine bedrooms, several reception rooms and a large garden.
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It is habitable, but far from finished, as these photographs testify; what remains is decoration, however, and shouldn't take very long. Apart from its size, what is remarkable about this house is that it is an official residence of the Fraternity of St Peter: it has been canonically erected by the local bishop, Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth. This is the first time such a thing has happened in England and Wales, and it means that the FSSP not only has an apostolate in Reading, but are an official and permanent part of the diocese. It really cannot be overstated what a big step forward this is.
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It should be noted that the FSSP has acheived this simply by working steadily at the pastoral coalface in Reading (as elsewhere); they have been saying the Mass regularly in Reading for about five years, and living in a rented house for about two. Their quiet hard work has earned them a place in what might not be thought to be the most auspicious diocese in the country. Floreat!

The chapel has not yet been consecrated - or even set up fully - but it is in the centre of the house.
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Among others on this occasion was Leo Darroch, the President of the Una Voce Federation.
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This is the house's address:
St John Fisher House, 17, Eastern Avenue,
Reading, RG1 5RU, England
Tel: 0118 966 5284; Email:

St John Fisher House is the residence of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in England, a Catholic international priestly society canonically established in the diocese of Portsmouth, and a registered charity: number 1129964.
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There are more photos of the house, inside and out, in this Flickr set.


  1. Fintan4:24 pm

    What is meant by Portsmouth not being the most auspicious diocese in the country?  They have allowed FSSP to minister and establish a House in the diocese. There are many opportunities for Latin Mass in the diocese, mmore than in many parts of Britain.  Please explain this potentially liabellous remark.

  2. Joseph Shaw10:41 am

    I said it appeared so. For example, very few Portsmouth priests say the TLM and there are consequently very few celebrations of it - apart from the FSSP. 
    Keep your hair on, I am complimenting Bishop Hollis! Or can't you tell the difference between a compliment and 'libel'?

  3. As a lawyer, I have to say, Fintan, that, suing someone for describing a diocese, or anyone, for that matter, as 'not the most auspicious', would land you with substantial legal expenses and a failed case. No court in this country would judge such a remark as defamatory. By the way, I was particularly fascinated by your conflation of two distinct words, "liable" and "libel". Do you understand the difference?