Fr Shaun with Bishop Alan Hopes
A church designed by the architect of Westminster Cathedral was consecrated last Saturday, for the first time since it was opened 130 years ago.
Bishop Alan Hopes, auxiliary bishop of Westminster, was the principal celebrant at the solemn Mass of dedication of Our Lady of the Holy Souls, Kensal New Town.
With 15 concelebrants, 600 people comprising of local councillors, former teachers of the nearby school St Mary’s, and old and new parishioners, the consecration comes after a year of restoration works to bring back the 'lost beauty' of John Francis Bentley’s 1882 design.
Parish priest, Fr Shaun Church said: “When we began this project, our guiding principle was to give back to Our Lady of the Holy Souls some of its original beauty, which had sadly been lost or covered over in subsequent decades.”
The crucifix that was set on the east wall of the church is now suspended over the new tiled sanctuary and marble altar, decorated with a wooden altarpiece detailing the seven personified gifts of the Holy Spirit. The original Victorian pulpit was uncovered in 2011 and has been refurbished to its vibrant red, green and gold design.
Relics of St Charles Borromeo, St Agnes, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Blessed Vicente Soler were donated by groups such as the English Province of the Augustinian Recollects and deposited inside the altar.
But the most eye-catching feature of the restoration is the beautiful gothic lettering of the De Profundis inscription that runs across the arches on the north and south sides of the nave.
The Mass was followed by a reception at the local primary school, St Mary’s, which had food and drink donated by parishioners.