Mass marks re-opening of Wirral church

Parishioners spoke to the BBC about what makes the church special

A special mass has been held to mark the re-opening of a Wirral church saved from closure by local campaigners.

Ss Peter and Paul's in New Brighton was closed in 2008, when the Catholic Diocese said it was too large and expensive for its small congregation.

It is known as the Dome of Home, as it is one of the first things seafarers see when they sail back to Liverpool.

The Vatican finally reviewed its decision to close it and a side chapel has now re-opened to the public.

The first Celebration of Holy Mass since it was closed was held there at 0915 GMT.

'Brilliant news'

Councillor Paul Hayes, one of the people who fought to bring the building back into use, said: "It was closed originally by the Diocese of Shrewsbury because they were saying there were falling numbers of people attending mass, and the building was just too big to maintain.

"But there had been no concerted efforts for the upkeep of the building, there were more than enough parishioners who were attending mass regularly who were more than willing to give some money to keep the church updated and maintained."

He added: "It is brilliant news, there have been a group of parishioners who have been working night and day on this for the past two years and I'm just so happy for them and for all of the parishioners of Ss Peters and Paul's."

Cath Nelson was behind the campaign group Save Our Unique Landmark (SOUL).

She wrote to the Vatican over a two-year period to persuade it to keep the church open.

She said: "It's my spiritual home, and always has been, and we have fought to get it re-opened because it should never have been closed."

The campaign to get the church fully re-open has a long way to go as it is expected to cost about £700,000 to carry out the repairs needed inside.

Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, is discussing the future of the building with English Heritage.

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