New Apostolate for the FSSP

St. Mary's, Warrington, The grandest Roman Catholic church in Warrington and a major work by E.W. and P.P. Pugin
Great news from the Archdiocese of Liverpool where the recently appointed Archbishop, the Rt Reverend Malcolm McMahon has announced a new apostolate entrusted to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (the FSSP):

From St Mary's website, Warrington :

“I have invited the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter to come to the archdiocese and to have responsibility for St Mary’s Church, Warrington. In due course this will become a centre for the celebration of the extraordinary form of Mass and the sacraments. The priests of this fraternity will not, however, assume pastoral responsibility for St Mary’s parish, which will be the responsibility of Fr David Heywood from September.”
The FSSP have responded:
We are grateful to Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, O.P. for his invitation in the Liverpool Archdiocese; as well as to Abbot Cuthbert Madden, OSB of Ampleforth, for making the church available for us.
We very much look forward to meeting with the faithful at St Mary's and with the clergy in the area.
The FSSP is an international society of Roman Catholic priests, canonically similar to the Vincentians, Paulists, Oratorians or the Maryknoll Fathers inasmuch as they make promises like diocesan clergy rather than take religious vows; and like religious they lead communal life and abide by specific Constitutions approved by the Holy See according to the charisma of their founder(s).

The FSSP was founded in 1988 through direct involvement of Pope St John-Paul II and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Its mission is two-fold: first, the formation and sanctification of priests with the help of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite, and secondly, the pastoral deployment of the priests in the service of the Church (currently serving in 120 dioceses on 4 continents).

Blessed with many vocations, the FSSP numbers 413 (average age 37), including 253 priests and 160 seminarians (including 10 from England). Its prayer network, the Confraternity of St Peter, numbers 4,700.

In these Isles, the FSSP is canonically established in the dioceses of Portsmouth, Northampton and St Andrews & Edinburgh where Holy Mass is offered daily (weekly in Northampton). We also serve monthly in the dioceses of Brentwood, Dunkeld (Scotland), Cork & Ross and Ferns (Ireland).

One might wonder at the last part of that statement: "The priests of this fraternity will not, however, assume pastoral responsibility for St Mary’s parish, which will be the responsibility of Fr David Heywood from September.” and, if you were of a more cynical bent, consider that, perhaps the diocese curia might be attempting to limit the contamination of their diminishing congregations with that 'Old Time Religion'? However, over at Offerimus Tibi Domine, Fr. Simon Henry explains that:
What that actually means is a technical term - the church and the Fraternity will not be responsible for a geographical territory like a normal parish. It is the same arrangement for the Institute churches in Preston and New Brighton - and for many Religious Houses. However, I understand that St Mary's will be able to conduct the other sacraments for those who attend there, such as baptisms and funerals. The idea that they will not be engaged in any pastoral work, in the sense of caring for the spiritual and material needs of those who attend and beyond, and indeed anyone they come into contact with in need, is ridiculous. Knowing some of the priests of the Fraternity, I am sure they will be very active in outreach and charity in a great many ways.
Dr. Joseph Shaw reports on Rorate Caeli:
This brings the number of dioceses in England who have welcomed one or other of the Traditional Institutes to five. They are Portsmouth (where the FSSP have a canonically erected house of residence, in Reading); Northampton (where the FSSP has an official 'Chaplaincy' established by Bishop Doyle); Liverpool (where the FSSP will now have St Mary's Warrington); Shrewsbury (where the Institute of Christ the King are the custodians of the Shrine Church of SS Peter and Paul in New Brighton in the Wirral), and Lancaster (where Bishop Campbell last year gave the Institute of Christ the King the magnificent church of St Walburge's, Preston).
[Now this is the important bit:]
The clustering of traditional places of worship in the North of England is not a coincidence: England's northern dioceses have a long-standing liberal reputation and are extremely short of clergy. They were served by by the notoriously 'progressive' Ushaw seminary until it closed, for lack of students, in 2010. Manchester (diocese of Salford) and York (diocese of Middlesbrough) have both recently established Oratories of St Philip Neri, in both of which the Traditional Mass is offered every Sunday. In each of case the future of a fine historic church has been assured, along with the pastoral care of the people and the hope of future vocations.
[It has long been said that liberalism will die out in a generation or two because it is sterile, it does not attract vocations, it does not grow. We have witnessed this over the last few years and now our bishops have little option but to turn to those orthodox remnants who have kept the faith, and so have burgeoning seminaries, in order to fill the gaps in their diocese left by aging clergy].
But there is more good news from England's south coast: the appointment of Fr Serafino Lanzetta as Parish Priest of St Mary, Gosport (diocesan website), to take effect on 8th September; the Parish newsletter, in fact, already calls him the Parish Priest and tells us that from next week:
'Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form (sung in Gregorian Chant) will be celebrated in St Mary’s Church at 7am Monday to Friday and 9.30am on Saturday. All are welcome.'
Fr Lanzetta is the author of an important work, so far available only in Italian: 'The Second Vatican Council: A Pastoral Council'.
The interior of St. Mary's, Warrington

More on the history of this beautiful English Church here.

For me, this raises the question, will other bishops follow suit now a prominent Archbishop has made this bold move?


  1. I am from St Peter Paul & Philomena New Brighton ( ICKSP ) and am looking forward to coming with a small group this coming Saturday. Great to see the growth in Traditionalism, and wishing St Mary's Warrington all the Graces needed to see its community prosper to the Glory of Our Lord


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