On Saturday, 25th January, Bishop Declan presided at a con-celebrated thanksgiving Mass on the memorial of Ss Timothy and Titus at the Church of St Gregory the Great in Cheltenham. There were also ecumenical guests present in the sanctuary and the MP, Alex Chalk, was also in attendance.
This was a celebration to mark the completion of the latest phase of work to restore and to renovate the Grade II* listed building. This project involved reinstating the original ceiling of the Church, exposing and conserving nineteenth century stencilling, cleaning and re-leading the clerestory windows, new lighting and major renovation to the sacristy. The work was extensive and involved the installation of 120 tons of scaffolding and was of 7 months duration.
The church was used for Sunday worship for all of this period, bar two periods of three weeks each, when Sunday Masses were celebrated in St Gregory’s school while the scaffolding was first erected and later dismantled.
The work has resulted in the building being a magnificent place of worship, but also a venue for events such as the Cheltenham Music Festival and Cheltenham Christian Arts Festival.
At the Mass the homily was delivered by Canon Bosco McDonald, Dean of the Cathedral, and former parish priest at Gregory, who focused very much on the role of the Church and the parish as being a continuation of the mission of the Church established by Jesus. The celebration was accompanied by first class music which greatly enhanced the liturgy and included the Sixth Form Choir from St Edward’s School. Pupils from St Gregory’s Primary School, St Thomas More Primary School and All Saints Academy also participated in the Mass.
The day was a wonderful celebration and in giving thanks to God for the successful completion of the work , the community was drawn together in marking the completion of this phase in the ongoing presence of St Gregory’s parish’s presence and mission in central Cheltenham.