For those of you who know London, and Catholic London in particular, St Patrick's Church, Soho, may be well known to you. Many times I popped in to the church for a few prayers whenever passing down Oxford Street on the way to Charing Cross and Covent Garden.
Of late, though, the church had been looking very grimy, long past a restoration. At my last visit to the church before they closed it I had the honour of concelebrating Midnight Mass for New Year with the Parish Priest, the kind and most welcoming Fr Alexander Sherbrooke. After Mass we had a delighted soiree into the wee hours with members of the Brazilian community who were hosting their annual post-Mass New Year's party in the basement. We sacrificed the London fireworks to join in the Mass and party and we certainly chose the better part.
Well, Fr Alexander closed the doors of St Patrick's soon after to begin the restoration, and on the 31st May last they opened again to reveal a truly magnificent and splendid church. A dark church has been wonderfully transformed into a gem. Congratulations to Fr Alexander and all involved.
The church has a long and prestigious history, and among the many people of renown who have entered under its roof was the Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen who spent some time there ministering. It was in that church that the famous incident of the actress and the confessional took place.
Here are some more photographs of the restored church and ceremony. It is interesting to note that church design and decoration are finally moving back to a richer, more traditional, devotional and artistic style. Thank God the temptation to create another whitewashed, austere and bland minimalist monster was avoided. Time we left those experimental disasters behind.