THE Church of the Most Holy Sacrament and St Osburg in the West Midlands has reopened after a 15-month refurbishment.
The church is known locally as St Osburg’s and is the mother church of Coventry. The Mass of dedication for the new altar and celebration of the restoration of the church was celebrated on September 9, coinciding on the feast of St Osburg.
Archbishop Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, was the principal celebrant and preacher. Additional celebrants included Bishop Philip Pargeter, Abbot Geoffrey Scott of Douai Abbey and Dom Aidan Bellenger of Downside Abbey.
Many of the former priests who served at St Osburg’s, along with many of the Coventry priests were also present. In total about 45 concelebrated the Mass.
The architects and construction team who worked on the restoration were also present, along with the members of the parish and St Osburg’s primary school. The school looked after all the clergy before the Mass in the parish hall. At the end of Mass Canon Garry Byrne said: “People used to ask: ‘When will [the refurbishment] start?’ This changed to: ‘When will it be finished?’ And now the question will be: ‘When will it be paid for?’” At the moment the church is £490,000 overdrawn, so the appeal for donations continues (visit Coventrycatholicdeanery.org.uk for more information on how to help).
He then went on to thank everyone who helped with the celebration of the consecration of the new altar and reopening of St Osburg’s, including, Brian the sacristan, Veronica and Sarah who arranged the flowers and those who cleaned. He thanked Keith Ainsworth, who co-ordinated the liturgy and printed the booklets, Chris Coleman, choir mistress, and the combined choirs, the altar servers and those who helped at the Mass. He thanked the Knights of St Columba for acting as stewards, National Grid for the use of its car park, Mrs McGeever and the school staff for welcoming the clergy and providing refreshments before Mass, Elizabeth Grumbley for doing the catering, and all those who assisted on the night, and those who cleared up. Finally he thanked Days Hotel for donating the wine.
Speaking to Midland Conservation Limited’s site manager Derek Monaghan he said: “You only get one of these in lifetime and you have to get it right. I am delighted with the way it has been handed back to the parish.” The church now has a live web camera for those who are unable to attend the church. Visit Mcnmedia.tv or Coventry-catholic deanery.org.uk.