To St. wohn Bosco FIRST I N E
GLAN Impressive Procession Of The Relics
Shrigley Hall, famous Salesian foundation, near Macclesfield, Cheshire, has witnessed many brilliant scenes since the Congregation took up residence there nine years ago, but never one comparable to that of Sunday last when the first church of St. John Bosco in Engiand was opened by the Bishop of Shrewsbury, Mgr. A. J. Moriarty.
FROM AN EARLY HOUR IN THE MORNING, THROUGHOUT THE AFTERNOON AND INTO THE LATE EVENING, THE CELEBRATIONS CONTINUED IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF ENTHUSIASM PARALLELING ANYTHING THAT CATHOLIC ENGLAND EAS WITNESSED IN LATTER YEARS.
It was not merely the fact, wonderful as it was, that another glowing page had been written in the history of the Salesian Congregation by the erection of the church, but that also it marked the 50th anniversary of the death of St. John Bosco and that a similar period of time had elapsed since the Salesians first began tHeir great work in England.
From Our Special Correspondent Sunday's visitors, numbering nearly 3,000, included two of the few remaining links with St, John Bosco, Mgr. Guerra, S.C., formerly Archbishop of Santiago, who represented the Salesian Rector Major, and Fr. E. Tozzi, S.C., Provincial of the Congregation in England.
The visitors came from all parts of England. Ireland and Scotland. for the most part co-operators and benefactors who have made the church possible.
Impossible to Describe
Standing as it does, built in their own Shrigley stone, in the midst of 150 acres of wooded slopes and rolling pasture land it is a lasting memorial to the generosity of those people and to the unremitting labour of four years on the part of the priests and boys of the College.
So impressive were the proceedings throughout the day that it is impossible to describe them adequately, but certainly the most outstanding feature was the procession of the relics carried by Mgr. Moriarty along a route densely lined by kneeling spectators.
Out of the church, down from the terrace, past the hall, through a tree-lined avenue down to the flat green field by the lake, it wended its slow way, the voices of the assembly and the music of the College band mingling with the song of the birds echoing and re-echoing from the surrounding hills.
Spectacular and Impressive
That moment, spectacular and impressive, was all too short, yet barely had the procession reached the church when it began to rain heavily, curtailing the arrangements and robbing the assembly of solemnity of Pontifical Benediction from the church steps.
Mgr. Moriarty was welcomed on Saturday night, and later in the evening the church was blessed by Archbishop Guerra. On Sunday morning Mass was celebrated by the Archbishop for the last time in the College chapel, and afterwards His Grace carried the Blessed Sacrament in procession to the church. Three hours later Pontifical High Mass was sung there by Mgr. Moriarty, assisted by Fr. T. E. Payne, S.C., as deacon, and Fr. W. U. Tait, S.C., as sub-deacon.
The Communion of the Mass in Plainchant and a number of polyphonic Motets were sung by the College choir, assisted by the choir from the Salesian House of Studies at Oxford.
At the luncheon which followed she Mass Fr. Tozzi thanked Bishop Moriarty for the great friendliness that he had always shown the Congregation since they came to his diocese. He had been more of a father than a Bishop to them, he said.
Fr. Tozzi also thanked Mgr. Guerra. Alderman Byrne and the large parties of co-operators from Scotland, Ireland and England, and congratulated the architect on the erection of " their ideal church."
In reply, Mgr. Moriarty said that he was overwhelmed with a debt of gratitude to the Congregation for allowing him the privilege of offering the first Mass in the church. They were making history that day, he said.
Work of the Future
His Lordship said that the helping of boys was the great work for the future. The work was needed, otherwise there would be a great calamity. In the Salesians he saw hope for the future.
The Procession and Pontifical Benediction was preceded by the singing of solemn Pontifical Vespers of St. John Bosco by Mgr. Guerra and at Benediction a sermon on Don Bosco's fife was preached by Fr. Tozzi.
For hours following the relic of the Saint was venerated by the crowd, and the proceedings were brought to a close by a sacred concert given by the boys.
Floodlit at Night
Without any doubt the most impressive feature of the church is the magnificent high altar, the altar of relies and the five side altars, all executed in marble. The dedications of the side altars are the Sacred Heart, St. Joseph, Our Lady, St. John Bosco and St. Francis of Sales.
Throughout this week the church has been visible at night for miles by an instal
lation of flood-lighting. Sunday's ceremonies were filmed throughout the outside scenes in colour.
On Monday morning Mgr. Guerra sang Pontifical High Mass in the new church for frail its benefactor&