Bishop Paul Swarbrick celebrated this wonderful mass with the Parish – where he was Parish Priest prior to becoming our Bishop.
Fr Paul Harrison gave an overview of what would have happened 100 years ago at the consecration. It would have been an extremely elaborate celebration and would have started outside the church. The procession would have circled the outside of the church three times and blessed the walls of the church. Once inside the church they would then have blessed the walls from the inside not once but three times. Next they would have put in place the consecration candles and the stones above them. The Bishop himself would have put the first one in place (climbing up ladders to do so).
Next the altars of Our Lady Star of the Sea and The Altar of the Sacred Passion ( as it was known then) and the main altar were consecrated with oil of chrism and lots of incense ( a minimum of 2 lbs of incense would have been used).
The celebrants would have included the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle together with 30 priests – not spectators but each one of those priests would have had a job to do within the celebrations. 32 Altar servers assisted in the mass.
The celebrations would have started at 08:30 in the morning and High Mass was from 12 noon and would have lasted about 2 hours. Therefore the whole celebrations would have been from 09:30 to 14:30 pm .
We have two legacies from this original consecration and they are:-
The consecration Candles which are lit only on the 14th September each year
The Choir Stalls which were installed for the consecration, made by Robert “Mouseman” Thompson and one “other”
Father Paul finished with a little quip that having been the Ampleforth recently that in his opinion “our Choir stalls are better than Ampleforth!”