The parish of the Immaculate Conception and St Joseph, Hertford, celebrated the 150th anniversary of the consecration of the church on 16 October with Mass celebrated by Cardinal Vincent. The church was originally built by Cardinal Vaughan in 1858 and was consecrated on 16 October 1866 by Cardinal Manning. Previously on this site stood the Benedictine Priory of the Blessed Virgin Mary founded in 1087 by Sir Ralph de Limesi, a nephew of William the Conqueror. This was destroyed on 9 February 1539 by King Henry VIII.
In his homily, the Cardinal explained the importance of the town of Hertford in Christian history: ‘Not many people know that it was in this town that the system we still use today for working out the date of Easter was established. That was one of the decisions of the Synod of Hertford, held in 673. Another resolution the Synod fathers made was that “bishops and clergy when travelling shall be content with whatever hospitality is offered them”.’ Additionally, the first three Archbishops of Westminster also had strong links with Hertford.
Most importantly, the Cardinal reflected, is the community that has been gathered together in faith at Hertford. ‘The memory of our family is, inevitably, much more personal. In a long-established parish like this one, the stones resonate with family history: of baptisms and First Communions, of weddings and funerals. Many in this church today, I am sure, will have such personal memories, of grace received at the font and the altar, of loved ones who have made this church their spiritual home. Today is the best of days to pray for them, and to thank God for them and for their gift of faith to us.’
The full text of the Cardinal's homily is available to read here.