Bishop to bless St Joseph’s Chapel
The Right Reverend John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, alongside Fr Dermot Preston SJ is presiding over the blessing and mass of the St Joseph’s Chapel on the 25th May, in Hurst Green. Serving the local primary school of St Joseph’s, its restoration project has rejuvenated a gentle place of prayer for the area.
The first chapel was built in 1859 by Fr James Walker SJ (Missioner from 1850 to 1861) alongside the charity school at Hurst Green. He dedicated them both to St Joseph, principal patron of the Society of Jesus. In 2012 it became apparent that there were serious problems with the old schoolroom and chapel. The Jesuit Trustees, supported by the parish and school committed resources to redevelop these noble old buildings aiming to renovate the old schoolroom as a new chapel, and to create a new classroom on the footprint of the former chapel.
In the new design there was a strong desire to retain some of the elements of the previous chapel, providing a link between old and new. The place where people had worshipped for over a century would be succeeded by a contemporary setting which would invite future generations to come and pray.
The sanctuary furniture (altar, altar candlesticks, priest’s chair, lectern, paschal candle stand, and tables) has come from the 2006 chapel renovation at Loyola Hall, the Jesuit spirituality centre near Liverpool which closed at Easter 2014. It is good that this furniture has found a new home at St Joseph’s.
A sculpture by Jonah Jones (1919-2004) of Christ crucified is flanked by two new stained glass windows especially commissioned for the new chapel. The glass is by artist Sarah Galloway, who workshopped with the pupils of St Joseph’s school on the designs. The theme is creation, with the Spirit of God breathing through the windows and the empty cross of the resurrection.