Given into the care of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, The Church of the Most Precious Blood at The Borough, London Bridge, is marking another milestone in its long history. In 2017 it will be 125 years old – and parishioners have launched plans for a major restoration to celebrate.
The parish is a thriving one, noted for its street processions which are a feature of the local scene. Mass attendance has increased substantially over the past two years, and an extra weekend Mass has had to be added. Recent improvements to the church include a shrine to Blessed John Henry Newman, patron of the Ordinariate, and new glass doors at the main entrance, enabling passers-by to see in – and many drop in for prayer, to light a candle, or just to spend some quiet time.
Now the parish has launched a £250,000 appeal to finish the work on the floor – underfloor heating was installed a year ago and all is now ready for fresh flooring to be placed over the tiles – to tackle the peeling paint on the walls, replace current lighting and sound systems, and refurbish the sanctuary. Special features of the church include a fine baldachino over the high altar, and an arched sanctuary entrance bearing the words "Christus dilexit nos et lavit nos in sanguine suo": Christ has redeemed us and washed us in his blood.
The appeal was launched by churchwardens Christopher Smith and Bernadette Josiah at a special Mass celebrated on Sunday July 5th by Mgr Keith Newton of the Ordinariate. The aim is to raise the funds by 2017 and to complete the full restoration by then, marking the 125th anniversary. Despite its age, the church has never actually been consecrated – the traditional ceremony in which the walls are anointed and crosses placed there to mark the building for its sacred use – and the aim is to have the full consecration ceremony as the highlight of the anniversary celebrations.
Parish priest Father Christopher Pearson said "The area around the Borough is rapidly developing and our congregation consists of a broad mix of both long-term local residents and people who have moved to the area more recently for work or study. The Church is open all day and a steady stream of people use it as a place to pray or just find some peace and tranquillity. As a congregation, we have already raised and spent over £100,000 in the past two years on improving the facilities; to complete the restoration project we must now seek funding from other sources.
Visit their website at: www.preciousblood.org.uk