After the establishment of the Institute of Christ the King in New Brighton, Merseyside, where it has been taking care of the Shrine of Sts. Peter and Paul and Philomena, another English diocese welcomes the priests of the Institute to save a church, in Preston, Lancashire: Saint Walburge, the tallest parish church (and tallest of any Catholic church) in the United Kingdom.
The well-loved and iconic Catholic church of St Walburge, Preston has been given a promise of a sustainable future and a new lease-of-life following an announcement on Sunday 6 April 2014 by the Bishop of Lancaster, the Rt Rev Michael G Campbell OSA.The announcement (in a Pastoral Message) was that Bishop Michael Campbell and Monsignor Gilles Wach, General Prior of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, together with Parish Priest Father Simon Hawksworth, have agreed to establish a foundation of the Institute at the Church of St Walburge, Preston in the early autumn. The arrival and presence of the Institute – a society of Apostolic life of Pontifical right – will, according to Bishop Campbell enable the church to be open each day (which it is not at present) so as to become a shrine or centre for Eucharistic devotion and adoration. The shrine will specifically provide for the celebration of Holy Mass and the other Sacraments in the Extraordinary Form.Father Robert Billing, spokesman for the Diocese said:“The members of the Institute will work in close collaboration with Parish Priest, Father Simon Hawksworth.”“Importantly, the announcement of this initiative - following twelve months of negotiations - delivers good news: it will ensure the future sustainability and patrimony of St Walburge’s church; a church so dear to local Catholics and many others in Preston. Thankfully, this announcement means St Walburge’s is secured for the future, will be used each day for prayer and cared for as it continues to bear witness to the faith and mission of the Catholic Church in Preston.” [Source: Diocesan Press Release.]