A Haverhill church was consecrated by the Bishop of East Anglia performing the ceremony for his first time.
The Right Reverend Alan Hopes consecrated St Felix Roman Catholic Church in Queensway last Friday (March 14) in the 50th anniversary year of the St Felix parish.
Priests past and present attended the event, along with deacons, dignitaries including St Edmundsbury mayor Terry Buckle, Haverhill mayor Roger André and wife Pauline, town deputy mayor Maureen Byrne, Jeremy Todd and Lindsay White of NPS Group architects, Derek Hunt of Limelight Studios, designers of the mobile over the font, and more than 150 parishioners.
In a traditional service of consecration that a new church undergoes once, the bishop first blessed water that he used to sprinkle and bless the congregation and the church, and following the Litany of Saints he interred relics of four saints in the altar.
Michael Togher, builder and long time parishioner, closed and sealed the aperture.
Bishop Hopes consecrated the four corners of the altar with oil of chrism while the deanery clergy, using oil of chrism consecrated the 12 sconces with crosses, fixed around the walls of the church.
This was followed with incense at the altar and church, after which the altar was prepared for mass with all the candles of the church lit, to the accompaniment of celebratory hymns.
Amy Blythe, a young parishioner, was the cantor and St Felix church choir, led by organist Petra Stephenson, sang traditional psalms and hymns, joined by pupils of St Felix Primary School.
Three readings during the service were from Genesis, Ephesians and Matthew.
Bishop Hopes said Haverhill ‘will remain my first church consecration’ and paid tribute to Father Michael Teader for his ‘inspirational leadership’ in ensuring the completion of the church.
“The congregation is fortunate that the consecration of St Felix had lasted two hours, because at the time, the consecration of Westminster Cathedral took three days,” he quipped.
Fr Teader thanked all the organisers and singled out retired Fr Peter Marsh, who had decided during his time at the parish to build a permanent church.
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (March 27) Echo.