Somerset parish celebrates first 200 years

 Parishioners at St Michael's, Shepton Mallet, Somerset will be celebrating their parish's 200th Anniversary with two special Masses. The Masses will be celebrated this Thursday 29 April at 7.30pm and on Sunday 2 May at 11am. Sr Anne Martin, pastoral assistant at Shepton Mallet said: "To accommodate all our friends we have had to plan two celebrations! People are welcome to come to one or both. There will be refreshments on offer following the Mass on the 29th and a buffet lunch after Mass on the 2nd of May." The first Catholic Church in Shepton Mallet, which could seat a congregation of 200, was built in Summerleaze Park and opened for public worship on 29 April 1804. However, Shepton Mallet was home to an organised Catholic community at the end of the eighteenth century. In 1765 Fr John Brewer, a Jesuit Priest, who served the town until his death in 1797, started a mission which included Wells and Ston Easton. He opened the original chapel at Shepton Mallet which was a room in a house in Market Place. The house was owned by the Hippisley family who before the arrival of Fr Brewer had walked either to Bristol or to Bath to attend Mass. The Church at Summerleaze Park served the Catholic community of Shepton Mallet until 1965 when present church of St Michael on the corner of Langhorne Park was dedicated. Source: Clifton Diocese

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