A parishioner, Sheila Massey, tells us how the community of St Mary’s, Worksop celebrated their 175th Anniversary.
The first Mass was celebrated in the newly built Church on 26 March, 1840. It was a gift to the people of Worksop from the Duke of Norfolk, at that time Lord of the Manor, to provide a place of worship for the Catholic congregation of the town, and it continues in use today.
Fittingly, the Church has recently undergone a £500,000 restoration and refurbishment programme and it was rededicated at a special Mass in November last year. The interior of the Church is now a breathtakingly beautiful setting for the celebration of the sacraments, and repairs to the exterior will ensure the building is sound for many years to come.
To mark the anniversary a number of events have been held, starting with an Anniversary Mass on Tuesday, 9 June, celebrated by Bishop Ralph. The Mass was attended by representatives of Bassetlaw Council and other invited guests, including past priests who have served in the parish. Everyone attending the Mass was presented with a keepsake gift of a ‘cross in my pocket’ worked by the parish craft group, accompanied by a specially written prayer.
A joyous outdoor celebration was held on Sunday, 19 July when the sights, sounds, colour and taste of a tropical island were transposed to the lawns of St Mary’s Convent in the form of a Summer Carnival. Worksop steel band, ‘Steelpantastic’, played a lively repertoire of music throughout the afternoon. Tropical food and drink, brightly coloured decorations and a variety of stalls and games all contributed to an atmosphere of true celebration, and the sun shone.
The annual ‘afternoon tea’ event was upgraded to a 175 year celebration barbeque held in the grounds of St Mary’s on Sunday, 9 August. With excellent food and drink, this was another opportunity for parishioners to get together and celebrate this important anniversary.
St Mary’s Church was a glorious feast of scent and colour for the Festival of Flowers, held on 14 – 16 August. The theme of the Festival was ‘The Mysteries of the Rosary’, and it was particularly gratifying to be able to extend an invitation to other local churches to participate in the event. Amazing floral displays were contributed by the Priory Church, St Anne’s, and the Crossing Church, as well as by members of our own congregation. Visitors came in numbers, not only to enjoy the wonderful floral arrangements but also to see the newly restored church. As the photographs show, it was a truly uplifting and joyous celebration.
To mark the 175 years, a new full-colour booklet, A Guide to St Mary’s Church, has been published. Following a brief history of the church, the Guide takes the reader on a tour of the exterior and interior of the church, pointing out features of interest and an interpretation of each of the stained glass windows.
Further events are planned before the end of this special year, including a Folk Night and a special Mass for those married at St Mary’s. Specially engraved pens are also on sale.
The 175th Anniversary year has been marked with a variety of events, each a celebration in its own way of the presence of Catholic worship in Worksop and the very great gift bequeathed by the Duke of Norfolk in the building of St Mary’s.