An avant-garde Bishop raises an English church to new life

The Bishop of Lancaster, England, Most Rev. Michael Campbell, OSA, posted on his blog about celebrating a Pontifical Mass at the Throne.  The church was recently entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King, which is raising it to new life.

I was struck by this observation. The bishop wrote:

It seemed to me as if this venerable place of worship was once more breathing fully in both lungs, and through its splendid liturgy praise and worship were offered to Almighty God.

He didn’t let the church die.  Instead, he thought so far inside the box that what he did was outside the box, it was avant-garde: he returned the church to the purpose for which it was made.

Yes, I think this is avant-garde, which implies that more bishops will do the same as they wake up to the possibilities.

Fr. Z kudos to all!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Mike says:

    Fr. Z: he returned the church to the purpose for which it was made

    Even better, Bishop Campbell caused the church to be designated a Shrine. Thus instead of its being perceived as just another TLM ghetto, everyone is made welcome through its doors no matter in what parish (if any) they might be registered. The bishops of North West England have been foresighted in working with the Institute to do this.

    When in Preston, a visit to this church and/or the Shrine Church of St. Walburge (“The Spire”), about 15 minutes’ walk away, is a tonic for tired souls.

  2. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Deo gratias!

  3. Fyrdman says:

    That blue is awesome..especially the biretta

  4. Fyrdman says:

    Close to Infantry blue..

  5. Kevin says:

    The Institute of Christ the King rescued an abandoned Jesuit church here in Limerick that was destined to be converted to a health spa. While the church was gutted when they arrived 5+ years ago, they are bringing out it’s beauty bit by bit. They are an incredibly faithful and disciplined order and a tremendous blessing. Thanks be to God.

  6. pmullane says:

    And this morning has announced that the Sisters of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest are to establish a house in Preston also.

    Thank you Bishop Campbell. The only sadness is that he is due to retire this year.

  7. Scott Wilmot says:

    Wonderful. “Always alive, never outdated”.

  8. corm_corm says:

    I just read in the Catholic Herald, he has invited the Institute of Christ the King sisters (Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus) to the Diocese too!

  9. Michael_Haz says:

    And the priests of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest will be joined by the Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest, the female branch of the Institute.

    May they flourish and their number grow!

    Press release here:

  10. JonPatrick says:

    Things have gotten so far out of whack that doing what the Church was doing for 15 centuries up to the 1960’s is now considered avant garde. Kudos to Bp Campbell and may there be more radical avant garde bishops and priests in our future!

  11. So stunningly beautiful…and the ordinary is to be congratulated for thinking outside the box!

  12. Michael says:

    I saw this Bishop in Lourdes over the summer. Full habit and all. He is the real deal.

    God bless him.

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  14. Simon_GNR says:

    “The Bishop of Lancaster, England, Most Rev. Michael Campbell…”

    Fr. Z, may I point out, once again, [And without question for the LAST time.] that bishops in England & Wales are “Right Rev.”, not “Most Rev.”? In England & Wales only archbishops are “Most Rev”. The Bishop of Lancaster is the Right Rev. Michael Campbell, as confirmed at the website of the official Catholic Directory for England & Wales here:
    [Yawn. I’m in these USA right now.]

  15. Leppert says:

    This is my diocese. When I attend TLM it is at the shrine church of St. Walburgas which is also in Preston and run by the ICKSP. They also have another smaller church just across the river. There is an SSPX presence in the city and the FSSP have several churches down the road in Merseyside and Cheshire. The north-west of England is rapidly becoming a stronghold of the Tridentine Mass.

    Bishop Campbell has been a major proponent of importing religious orders to save churches in his diocese. The syro-malabaric order from India were given a parish, the Institute of the Holy Fathers and Brothers of the Youth from Nigeria caretake the diocese’s Marian shrine, Ladyewell.

    These are all wonderful expressions of the wider Catholic community but also represent a frightening truth that Bishop Campbell has recognised: Britain, like so much of Europe, is now mission territory!

    Where once the west exported missionaries to spread the gospel to Asia and Africa we now need those continents to help us find Christ again in our countries.

    I believe a wider recognition of this truth would go a long way to reviving the Church in the UK.

  16. Eugene says:

    You are very blessed to live such a diocese

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