On Sunday I was in the Wirral with my family to see the apostolate of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP, 'the Institute'), in this corner of the diocese of Shrewsbury. We were joined by Paul Waddington, the LMS Treasurer, who lives in Yorkshire.
First I attended Mass in the Church of the Sacred Heart, where Canon Olivier Meney ICKSP celebrated a Missa Cantata.
After Mass Paul Waddington and I took Canon Meney and his assistant, Abbe Cosme Montjean (an Institute seminarian), to a very jolly lunch over the Mersey in Liverpool. We then went to see the church of which he now rector: the well-known church of SS Peter & Paul, now a shrine in honour of SS Peter & Paul and St Philomena, in New Brighton. Canon Meney and Abbe Montjean live in the Presbytery which adjoins the church, having overseen the completion of the work necessary on that. What remains is the restoration of the church itself.
Currently, Canon Meney is saying daily Mass in what was the Sacristy.
The church itself is extremely impressive. It was built in the 1930s and can seat 650 people. It stands on a hill, and the copper dome can be seen far out to sea.
The Sanctuary, which seems to be entirely as it was built, is ideally suited to Solemn Mass.
There is a very fine Lady Chapel on the Epistle side.
The restoration in hand is a hugely exciting project, and I look forward to seeing its progress in the coming months. Bishop Davies is to be commended for the imaginative way he has found to secure the future of this much-loved church.
From left to right: Paul Waddington, Canon Meney, me, and Abbe Cosme Montjean, in the presbytery dining room.
Full set of photos here.