On Saturday I was walking up from the train station at Preston to my new house through Avenham Park, here on the edge you can see the back of the SSPX Priory, their Church is just around the corner and is reasonably well attended, in a city which is seeing the closure of some monumental Roman Catholic Churches. Like Manchester, Preston is seriously overchurched for the current climate, Manchester had many Sarum and Anglo Catholic Shrines in its centre, now all gone, with one or two modest exceptions. The advent of the motor car and greater amounts of leisure time as well as a rapidly expanding free market put paid to the obligation to attend Church, leaving only those who really believed in it. As you may by now have picked up, I do not see this as being a bad thing in any way, but the failure of the remnant over the last forty years to attract new people, or at least to replace themselves, though often the victims of modernism, has left us, inevitably, closing down Churches.
No such fear at Saint Hilda's yesterday morning, where we heard from Frank in India who informs us that our new purple High Mass set is ready and awaiting shipping once we have paid the bill. Hopefully we will have it for the Sunday before Palm Sunday. This means that we will have high sets in every colour some replacing our old ones, with the exception of rose, which is proving difficult to find.
Further good news from Stations of the Cross last night, which attracted a good number, especially given the rain and sleet that was falling. More than twice last Sunday's turnout, anyway, which hopefully suggests that last weeks numbers suffered from a plethora of alternative (and excellent) devotions elsewhere during that week. We will see how many turn out on Thursday night for the Lenten prayer group, that is a litmus test of devotion for it is something genuinely 'extra', not an established Mass or Benediction or Stations, but something unknown (even, at this point, to me, for I have not yet decided what to do, suggestions on the back of the comments boxes please), we will see how well the need for extra devotion at Lent has penetrated. The new speakers in the Choir stalls may be an added incentive for some, as will be the thought that they may be used for the playing of devotional music which has bred such a reverent atmosphere before services lately, although some still see it as an obstacle to be overcome for conversation. Ho hum.