Stonyhurst celebrates the re-opening of St Peter's Church
On Sunday 22nd January a congregation of 900 pupils, parents , staff and OS attended a Mass of Celebration for the re-opening of St Peter’s Church after its year-long programme of restoration, renewal and conservation. The Principal Celebrant was the Rev Fr Dermot Preston SJ, Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain.
The choir, conducted by the Director of Music, Mr Greg Mann, was in excellent voice for the occasion and sang Vivaldi’s Gloria, accompanied by members of the Stonyhurst Orchestra. The opening hymn was Vaughan Williams’ arrangement of ‘All creatures that on earth do dwell’. The Heads of the Line and the Headmaster read the readings, and a representative from each playroom and Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall read the bidding prayers.
At the Reception, held in the Ambulacrum after the Mass, the Headmaster Mr Andrew Johnson said he was delighted to see “the largest gathering of OS and friends of the College to be held at Stonyhurst for many years.” The Chairman of Governors, Mr John Cowdall, presented Fr Provincial with a photograph of the newly restored St Peter’s. OS from numerous generations, countries and counties caught up with each other over champagne, whilst present Higher Line pupils took the opportunity to sell teddy-bears in aid of the Stonyhurst Children’s Holiday Week, and the latest edition of the history magazine, PAST. Last year’s Rhetoricians were particularly well represented, perhaps because the restoration work had prevented them from having their Leaver’s Mass in St Peter’s last May.
It was a memorable and very happy occasion - a fitting celebration of St Peter’s return to the heart of Stonyhurst and to the parish of Hurst Green. The warmth, depth and breadth of the Stonyhurst family was clear to see.