Hi guys *sad face*, I’m home from visiting the shrine in New Brighton, the ‘Dome of Home’, the shrine church of SS. Peter, Paul and Philomena. I’m sad that I couldn’t stay forever but my friend, Adam, and I had the best time! Everything went so well and we felt blessed to be able to enjoy ourselves so much. Most of all, it was an honour to be able to witness the mass, and everything that comes with it, done so well, given that we had not fought for it all these years. We just waltzed it and reaped the rewards of 40+ years of battling for the Old Rite.
Apart from Lauds on the first day, we went to everything, including a little social after Sunday mass. It is a wonderful parish and I think it will continue to grow, especially with priests like Canon Montjean at the helm.
You can see from the photos that the church itself is impressive and well-kept by the Institute of Christ the King. Despite the ongoing restoration work, I think it looks very good.
Canon Montjean also has a deacon from the Institute there with him who I believe is called Francis but everyone called him ‘Abbé’. As in the past, I found that these traditional priests were extremely warm and friendly (though people might expect them to be uptight because of their attachment to the Old Rite). After mass on the first day, almost the whole congregation went into the presbytery for tea and biscuits and everyone made us feel at home. Also, after vespers, Canon invited us to have a drink and to chat with him, which was wonderful because I don’t think that either of us had ever spoken very much with a priest from the ICK. We really felt that we could be at ease with him and I think that’s very important, because priests need to help us so much to get heaven, so we must be able to be open with them. Sadly, I find that many priests keep us at arm’s length and that is a real shame.
For our sins, Adam and I also went to visit the Metropolitan Cathedral in the centre of Liverpool (the tabernacle seems almost hidden, so in case you do go, it’s directly behind the altar, so genuflect in that general direction). We had a quick look around the main church and then went downstairs to the Crypt and ogled all the amazing old ciboriums, chalices, patens, thuribles and vestments etc. that are kept down there. We came to the conclusion that priests must have been very strong to lift the chalices and monstrances that were down there and Canon said that priests have to be very strong, which may or may not have been a serious comment. It costs £3 to go into the Crypt, but it’s definitely well worth it. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any photos of the chalices and so on, so you will just have to go see for yourself.
If you do go, I must advise you to visit this bakery/tea shop that we stopped at: http://www.cuthbertsbakehouse.co.uk/ It is just down the road from the cathedral and it was lovely. I have a lot of experience when it comes to eating cakes, so you can trust me on this one. They do a delicious tomato soup too! Phwoah.
Finally, when it came to Sunday mass, Adam and I somehow found ourselves in the choir, which you have to laugh at. The lady that I was singing with kept asking me, “Do you know this one or this one?” and each time, I would respond that I did not, but I would give it a go! Anyway, luckily they had some very strong singers in the choir, so we sort of faded into the background. I was literally saying a prayer each time we sang, because I was so afraid that my croaky voice would carry across the church to those serving on the altar!
After mass, there was a nice social with mince pies, sandwiches, mulled wine and all the rest of it. The Canon’s birthday was the next day and he finds it very funny that the Wirral’s mascot is the badger, because apparently badgers are synonymous with crazy people in France. So, of course, one of the servers somehow found a giant badger suit and crept up on him! Canon found it so funny that he put the badger head on himself. He is really laid back! No wonder his congregation are so fond of him.
Adam had to leave after the social but I was lucky enough to be offered a lift to Chester so that I didn’t have to leave until after Sunday Vespers, Rosary and Benediction, so I got to eke out my stay a little longer, for which I was very thankful.
We hope to go back very soon and we were so sad to leave! If you can, please do go and visit. We stayed at a wonderful (and very reasonably priced) B&B called Sherwood Guesthouse. The beds were comfy, the rooms were warm and very nicely decorated and there was a tasty and filling breakfast in the morning too!