One of Preston’s largest churches is being brought back under the direct control of the Bishop of Lancaster.Advertisement
English Martyrs’ Church in Garstang Road and St George’s Road was under threat of closure.
Now the Bishop of Lancaster Michael Campbell has stepped in to set out the grade-II listed church’s future.
In a blog post, published on Sunday (9 July), he explains how the doors nearly closed on the place of worship after nearly 150 years.
He writes: “In recent years, the situation has become more acute – especially in terms of a lack of parishioners being actively involved in parish life and helping with the care of the church and grounds. In all these considerations for the future mission of English Martyrs’ Church – this capacity issue has been central.
“Of course, there are those who tell us that the presence of the Catholic Church in this part of Preston is finished. I cannot agree. However, the shape of our mission will certainly have to change. On the other hand, many will criticise any effort I make to address these challenges and yet seem to offer no constructive solutions of their own.
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A similar situation to St Walburge’s has now been arranged with the Bishop sending in one of his top men from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest to revitalise the English Martyrs church.
Bishop Campbell writes: “The Institute will assume the direct administration of English Martyrs’ church – hopefully this autumn. I am extremely grateful to the Institute for this – as they are inundated with similar requests from bishops across the world and have the proven skill, aptitude and record of expertise in the care of large and historic churches.”
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Mass at the church is to move from Sunday mornings to Saturday evenings instead – for at least the next 12 months.
The church says it will be carefully monitoring attendance levels at mass.
What do you think about the decision? Do you attend the English Martyrs? Let us know in the comments below