A PONTIFICAL High Mass (tridentine rite according to the Missale Romanum of 1962) was sung last Sunday for the first time in the North of England for 25 years.
The Mass celebrated the oldest Catholic mission in Liverpool, St Mary's, Highfield Street, founded in 1707. A Jesuit. Fr Gilligrand established the first mission there after moving from Crosby Hall in 1707.
The first church was burnt down by a Protestant mob in 1746. A second church was also attacked and partially destroyed, before being taken into the care of the Benedictines in 1783.
Later. in the 19th century, donations from Irish Catholic immigrant workers enabled the Pugin church to be completed in 1845. The construction of a railway line meant that the church had to re-constructed, brick by brick, at the Edmund Street site.
After surviving these trials, the church was burnt to the ground in the Blitz of 1941. Not to be defeated. however, church services were transferred to the upper floor of the Parish hall, where they continued for some twelve years.
The 20 June Mass marked the 40th anniversary of the post-war church built to replace bombed building. which was opened in June 1953, with Pontifical High Mass celebrated by the Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation and a sermon preached by a Jesuit.
The Pontifical Mass was the last of a series of events which celebrated the solemn opening of the church.