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Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Triple celebration for Bath church
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¬†St Mary's Catholic Church in Julian Road, Bath, has three major anniversaries this year and will celebrate them over the weekend of 19 to 21 May. The most significant is the 125th birthday of the church itself. Consecrated on 3 May 1881 by Cardinal Manning, Archbishop of Westminster, it was dedicated to Our Lady Help of Christians. In addition to this, the parish priest, Canon Brian McEvoy, celebrates 40 years as a priest in July - being ordained in the same year as England last won the World Cup. Finally, Father John Foster, who is attached to the parish, will celebrate ten years as a Catholic priest. A major exhibition entitled 'Celebrate 125' has been put together by the parishioners and will be opened by Bishop Declan at 5.15pm on Friday. The exhibition covers the life of St Mary's (church and school) and includes everything from the original building plans, which show that the church was never actually finished, to the beautiful and unusual frescoes, which were always planned for but were only added nine years ago. Parts of the old Victorian school, which have not seen the light of day for years, have been re-opened as a walk through display; stunning photographs recreate the moment when bombs fell all around St Mary's during the Second World War and a Rogues Gallery pictures both famous and infamous visitors to the church from Johnny Depp to Reggie Kray. Over the weekend guided tours of the church will be given, offering visitors the chance to view the exceptionally fine carvings throughout, see if they can spot the 110 carved heads, which parish folklore claims are to be found inside and learn about 'the angel waiting within the stone'. Another stone visitors will be able to view is the Celebrate 125 Commemorative Stone, carved in York Sandstone by parishioner Mike Nash. Bearing the simple inscription 'St Mary's, Celebrate 125, 1881 ≠ 2006, Deo Gratias, it is due to be placed in the Garden of Remembrance. A very special celebratory Mass will be held on Sunday 21 May, beginning at 10.30am, when the parish will give thanks not only for their beautiful church and dedicated priests but for the warm, vibrant and pro-active community that is St Mary's today. They may also pray that England win the World Cup this year ≠ just to help Canon Brian celebrate.
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