This weekend marks a doubly ‘Warm welcome back!’ for parishioners at St Wilfrid’s, Ripon!
Not only are all our churches now permitted to start lessening or (if practical) removing all restrictions and pandemic precautions, but St Wilfrid’s Church is now opening again for Mass after being closed for several months of renovations and refurbishments.
Since November 2020, whilst this architectural treasure of our Diocese was under restoration, Canon Ian Smith had been celebrating Mass in the Parish Centre. Now the work is complete enough to return the Blessed Sacrament to His proper place in the Tabernacle and return the Parish Centre to its many uses for the parish and wider communities alike.
For months, the church was scaffolded for the essential repairs. These were funded in part by the wonderful fundraising of parishioners over several years, and in part by significant grants from the Albert Gubay Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Idlewild Trust, Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust – and grants from Historic England, given specifically for Grade II* listed churches, which were applied for by the Diocese on behalf of the Parish to ensure that work could continue during the lockdowns.
Now the scaffolding is all gone and the church can safely and Covid-securely open. No booking is necessary, although contact details for Track and Trace purposes will be asked for, face-coverings encouraged (where possible) and sanitising will still take place before and after every Mass. This coming weekend’s Masses in St Wilfrid’s Church are at the same time as they have been at the Parish Centre:
Saturday 24 July – Vigil at 5.30pm
Sunday 25 July – 9.00am and 10.30am
St Wilfrid’s is one of England’s finest Catholic parish churches. It was designed by the Yorkshire-born architect Joseph Hansom, a Catholic and some-time business partner of Edward Pugin whose father, Augustus Pugin, is regarded as the most significant figure in the 19th century Gothic Revival. Architects of the time collaborated with skilled craftsmen in stone carving, stained glass and encaustic floor tiles delineating areas of the church and uniting both practical and aesthetic considerations. The photographs show just a few details of the work as it progressed from ceiling to floor over the past eight months – but to see the finished results in all their glory to God, then visit St Wilfrid’s Church in Ripon for Mass anytime from this coming weekend!
St Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary School has joined the Diocese of Leeds’ award-winning and much-broadcast Schools Singing Programme which provides professional singing tuition during the school day for children who can then go on to enhance the worship in their parish choir. To accompany them and to establish St Wilfrid’s as a venue for Sacred Music of the highest quality, the next stage of fundraising is to install the ‘new’ organ, which has come from a Methodist church in Scotland and has been reconditioned by organ builders Wood of Huddersfield.