The Consecration of the Church

The story of the building and physical development of the church reaches its culmination on the Feast Day of St. Gregory the Great in 2004. In that year St. Gregory’s celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the opening of the church. Father Andrew (Behrens) decided that as the Parish Church had not yet been consecrated and formally dedicated to St. Gregory the Great, the time was appropriate for this to be done. The Diocese was awaiting the appointment of a new bishop, so on the evening of 3rd September, with a large congregation of parishioners, Father Andrew welcomed the Right Reverend Leo McCartie, the recently retired tenth Bishop of Northampton, to perform the special ceremony. Mass was offered with full solemnity and the rite of consecration was performed. This ancient rite consecrates not only the building but also the people of the parish. On the interior walls of the church are the permanent reminders of the ceremony in the form of twelve crosses set into the walls, which were anointed by the clergy present. A further part of the liturgy that evening was the sealing of the relic of St. Gregory into the altar. In this very particular way, Gregory, our Patron took possession of the building, and in a fuller sense it became “St. Gregory’s Church.”

The service concluded with the hymn to our patron saint giving heartfelt thanks to him for initiating the conversion of England:

“St. Gregory the Great, the Blest,
Who, while England lay in darkness,
Spared no labour, knew no rest;
For the gracious love he bore us,
Be thy holy name confessed!”

After this solemn and memorable ceremony, a celebration with refreshments concluded the evening in the Parish Centre.