History of St Patrick, Southport

 

The Church

 

As you move through the spacious narthex you will see two sacristies – one for the storage of candles, flower arranging equipment and other items needed for the liturgy; and a second where the priest and servers vest.

A glass screen separates the narthex from the new church. This has central double doors and the ceramic tiled floor continues into the church – a kind of invitation – to form an apron around the baptismal font. As Baptism is the sacrament of initiation into the Church it was decided to place the font at the door.

The Catholic custom of ‘blessing oneself’ on entering and leaving a church was always seen as a reminder of our baptism, and so we decided upon an open baptismal font, rather than holy water stoops, permanently containing holy water which might be used as a reminder and renewal of our baptism. With the same significance, at a funeral, we are able to bless the coffin as it enters the church.

 

 

 

The Baptismal Font is constructed from Portuguese Mocca Creme Limestone, and is featured both polished and honed. An inset band of stone between the two surfaces contains lines from ‘St. Patrick’s Breastplate’. Indeed the altar, ambo (lectern), and tabernacle plinth are all in the same stone – each with appropriate lines from the ‘Breastplate’. The same stone has been used for the Presidential and Deacons’ seats on the sanctuary, and for the shelves on the credence tables either side of the sanctuary. A piece also supports the sanctuary lamp near the tabernacle.

As you look up from the Baptism font you will see that that the benches are arranged to form a virtual semi­circle around the centre piece of the Church – the altar. This gives a better sense of a community gathering around the altar. No one is too distant from the action. People can see each other’s faces – there is a sense of the people gathered being a community, a family, one body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The benches were purchased in 1997 from St. Swithin’s Parish, Gillmoss, Liverpool, which was being reduced in size, and re-ordered. They are made of Brazilian mahogany and were stripped, re-polished and tailored by Ormsby’s of Scarisbrick to form the overall semi­circular shape. The beauty and quality of the wood has only to be seen to be appreciated.

 

The Altar

As you move forward you come to the sanctuary – the area for the liturgical action. This is comprised of two semi-circular styled platforms, containing, at the centre, the altar – which is the focal point of the church – for it is here that the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharist is celebrated. The altar, like the font, is made of Portuguese limestone, again both polished and honed, with a recessed band containing lines from St. Patrick’s Breastplate. You will notice a series of 12 small pillars set in groups of three whether viewed from the sides or the corners. These represent both the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Twelve Apostles, on which Salvation History recorded in both Old and New Testaments was rooted.

The Hebrew numerals 1 to 12 which can be seen on the pillars are a simple symbol of this truth, celebrating thousands of years of the worship of God being at the centre of the lives of His people.

 

Set into the mensa of the altar is a small sepulchre containing the relics of two early martyrs St. Faustus and St. Bosonie. This follows a tradition from the very earliest days of the Church. The first Christians in Rome, persecuted for their faith, used to gather secretly in the burial chambers (catacombs) beneath the city to celebrate the Eucharist. They would gather round the tombs of those who had been martyred for their faith, and as the faith spread the tradition grew of inserting small relics of these early martyrs into the altars of all churches, chapels and cathedrals as a tribute to their brethren’s brave courage and steadfast faith in their Lord, who had given his life for them.

 

 

St Patrick’s Catholic Church

In the Pastoral Area of Southport and the Archdiocese of Liverpool

Contact:

Tel: 01704 228943 or 01704 531229

Email: stpatricks.southport@rcaolp.co.uk

Home

Contact Us

The Sacraments

Children and Young People

Events

Parish Centre

Pastoral Area

Links

The Beginnings

1912-1957

1957-1995

The new complex

Construction

Dedication of the new church

Guided tour

The Church

The Sanctuary

Stations of

the Cross

Lady Shrine

Confessional

2012 to present