Catholic Church celebrates 75 years in Sidmouth

Bishop of Plymouth and former priest join celebrations at Church of the Most Precious Blood

CATHOLICS in Sidmouth celebrated the 75th anniversary of the opening of their Church of the Most Precious Blood at Radway, with a mass of thanksgiving on Friday.

Bishop Christopher Budd, Bishop of Plymouth, Canon Paul Cummins, Sidmouth’s new parish priest since September, and Father Patrick Kilgarriff, who was parish priest from 1979 to 2002 – and formerly curate from 1965-68 – concelebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving.

Also present was the Reverend Prebendary David James, rector of the parish church and Mike and Joan Edgecumbe from Churches Together in Sidmouth.

More than 100 members of the congregation, including Fortescue resident Monica Macadam, who was at the original ceremony, joined the celebrations.

The return of Catholicism to Sidmouth began in the chapel at Peak House when French Jesuits leased it in 1880.

The Jesuits did not stay long, but in 1882 the Sisters of the Assumption settled in Cottington House, moving to their new convent - now St John’s School - in 1884 where their chapel served as the parish church.

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By the 1920’s the need for a church in the town was recognised and a building fund was established in 1932 with the church opening on November 10, 1935.

Peter McGauley, reporting on the service and celebrations, said: “Bishop Christopher reminded the congregation that Westminster Cathedral is also dedicated to the Most Precious Blood and asked them to re-read the Pope’s recent sermon there, where he explained the significance of Christ’s blood within our daily lives.

“He also emphasised that it was a time to look back in thanksgiving and gratitude to those who had built and maintained the church for 75 years and also to look at the challenges that faced the congregation in both the present and the future. The Bishop singled out ecumenism and inter-religious faith as a primary goal.”

After Mass the congregation and guests viewed a display of the Church’s history in the church hall and enjoyed a finger buffet with drinks and three celebratory cakes, including one in the shape of the church and another as 75.

Children had their own special menu and afterwards had fun attacking a Mexican Pi�ata, which eventually shed its hoard of chocolate coins and raisins.