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Bishop helps King’s Lynn church mark 125 years 

A Catholic church in King's Lynn has just marked its 125th anniversary with an altar dedication and Mass with the Bishop of East Anglia, the Rt Rev Alan Hopes.

Bishop Alan celebrated the 125th anniversary of the foundation of the Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation in King’s Lynn and of the restoration of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham by offering Holy Mass and dedicating the altar on June 10.

“This is a real milestone in the history of the Catholic Church in King’s Lynn,” said Bishop Alan who was joined  by a large congregation and priests from across the King’s Lynn Deanery, including former parish priests of Our Lady’s.

“The Shrine of Our Lady was restored by Pope Leo XIII and set up here in King’s Lynn in 1897, the town where pilgrims before the Reformation would land before making the rest of their journey by foot to Walsingham – and this many years before it was possible to restore the National Shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham.”

The stone altar was originally put in at the consecration of the church, 75 years ago in 1947, but when the church was reordered in the 1970s the reduced altar was never consecrated, hence its dedication by Bishop Alan on Friday.

During the altar dedication, a relic of St Crescentius of Rome, who was beheaded aged 11 when he refused to deny his faith in 303AD, was re-placed inside the altar by Bishop Alan and was then sealed in by a stonemason and anointed with the oil of chrism.

In his homily, Bishop Alan said: “As we offer Mass on the newly dedicated altar we will commend to God’s love and mercy the whole people of this Catholic community, together with all our benefactors, living and departed,” said Bishop Alan.

“May God continue to inspire us all in this community, to serve and glorify him in our words and deeds and so be true witnesses of his love and mercy in our world for many more years to come.”

Present when the original church and altar were consecrated in 1947 was retired Catholic teacher Pauline McSherry, who was also present last Friday. In 1947, Pauline was visiting King’s Lynn while on holiday from Ireland, but a few years later, in 1955, she moved to the town and taught generations of children in Catholic schools there.

“I remember in 1947 being over on holiday aged 14 and there being soil down the aisle in which the bishop wrote with his finger.”

Now aged 89, Pauline said: “The Catholic community here is very important to me because of the friendship they offer to me as I am on my own – and we have great clergy here.”

After the Mass and altar dedication the congregation enjoyed a reception in the Wrigglesworth Room and Rectory garden.

See a full picture gallery of the dedication here or below: 

Our Lady King's Lynn 125th Anniversary and Altar Dedication, June '22


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