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Archbishop joins in celebrations as St Patrick's reopens its doors

The long awaited reopening of St Patrick’s, Soho Square will be marked this week with a series of special celebration Masses.

Celebrations began last night, Tuesday 31 May, with a Solemn Mass presided over by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, joined by Auxiliary Bishop James Conley of Denver.  The celebrations will continue throughout the week with Vespers presided over by Bishop Conley, Solemn Mass of the Ascension celebrated by His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, the premier of a new choral work by James MacMillan, CBE and a private address by George Weigel.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: “I’m delighted to be able to reopen the church of St Patrick’s, Soho Square after this marvellous work of renewal. This is a parish with a long and varied history in the life of the diocese and it has witnessed many changed in its 220 years. The sacrifices and prayers of many have built up this parish to its present strength. I am very grateful to all those who have made this restoration possible. We need to pray for its future: that it may continue to serve those who cross its threshold in the years to come.”

A special Mass on Tuesday 31 May at 6pm saw St Patrick’s reopen after a year of major refurbishment and redecoration work. The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster was the Chief Celebrant at the special Mass, which saw the premier of a specially commissioned new choral work – St Patrick’s Magnificat – from the eminent Scottish composer and conductor, James MacMillan, CBE.

Fr Alexander Sherbrooke thanked all who had helped raise the funds for the project as well as help manage the refurbishment. Fr Alexander said: “No words can express my gratitude for what you have done to make this project possible. As we start a new chapter in the Parish’s history may all who live, serve and pray in this place be ever mindful of the generosity it bears witness to.”

Fr Alexander and the parishioners of St Patrick's gave commemorative medals to those who had helped throughout the project to mark their involvement.

John Gibbs, former Financial Secretary at the Diocese of Westminster, spoke about the financial journey the parish had made, followed by Monty a former homeless person who St Patrick’s services had helped.

Following the Mass Archbishop Nichols blessed the new community centre where everyone was invited for an informal reception.

On Wednesday 1 June at 6pm, First Vespers of the Ascension will be presided over by the Right Reverend James Conley, Auxiliary Bishop of Denver. The new Magnificat by MacMillan will also form the musical and spiritual centrepiece of the service. A private, invitation-only address by Professor George Weigel on ‘Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the West’ will follows Vespers.

On Thursday 2 June 2011 at 6pm, a Solemn Mass of the Ascension will be celebrated by Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney.

 For more information on the Reopening Celebrations visit: