A church community of Diss gathered for an occasion described as “once in a lifetime” this week, as the town’s first new Catholic place of worship in decades received its formal consecration.
Around 150 people, including parish priest Father David Bagstaff, the bishop, priests and deacons from St Edmunds’ deanery, and Diss town mayor Keith Kiddie, turned out for a special service at the Catholic Church of St Henry Morse, located in Shelfanger Road, on Tuesday evening.
Father David, who joined the parish six months ago, said: “Everyone had looked forward to this day for a long time.
“It was a beautiful liturgy and a wonderful celebration for the dedication of the church.”
Judith Tooth, church parishioner, added: “For most of us, attending such an occasion is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as so few Catholic churches are currently built, and for it to happen in our own parish in very special.”
The Mass was led by Reverend Alan Hopes, the Bishop of East Anglia, who carried out a blessing of the baptismal font and purification of the altar before sprinkling the building and attendees with holy water, and placing holy relics in the altar.
In addition, 12 consecration crosses were specially commissioned from local craftsman and parishioner Peter Dunsmore, who also designed and built the church benches.
Bishop Alan stated: “Great thanks to Father David and all of you to have the courage and hope to build a new church.”
Dedicated to one of the 40 English Martyrs, the Church of St Henry Morse first opened back in 2012, seating 200 in the main body and a further 70 in the adjoining annex.
It was constructed to replace the Church of The Most Holy Trinity in Stanley Road, the sale of which helped to fund the £1 million build of the new church, along with a loan provided the diocese of East Anglia.
The church holds its Mass on Saturdays at 6pm, Sundays at 9am, and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 9.30am.
For any additional information about the church and its activities, contact 01379 642914.
You can also send an email to the church, via the address firstname.lastname@example.org