Catholic Herald Reporter
BY using a wooden church for 30 years, living in a bungalow. never employing a housekeeper, making his own church furniture, and "never paying 2d. where one penny would do" a parish priest has managed to save for his parish £43,000. On August 26 he will pay it out on his new church, which will have the rare distinction of being both opened and consecrated on the same day.
The priest is Fr. Desmond Coffey of St. Augustine s, Beckenham Hill, Kent. The new church is completely rotund with the high altar in the centre, in full view of all the congregation. "Nut only will everybody be able to see what's going on -they'll be practically on top of the celebrant." Fr. Coffey said.
"The Vatican Council was
tailored for our church," he added. "All through the years the parishioners here have been right up to date with every statement on the liturgy. Every Mass is either sung or dialogue.
"I've seen churches of all shapes all over the country-hectagonal, circular, square and threepennybitlike, but I've only seen one other with the altar in the centre."
Speaking of his old wooden church, Fr. Coffey compared it to a Gladstone bag: "I've seen it full at 160; full at 200; and for midnight Mass last Christmas it was full again at 350," The new church. which seats 450. will h.' opened and consecrated by Bishoj Cosderoy of Southwark on August 26. [An artist's impression of the new church is reproduced above.)