Northern Ireland news

Former Presbyterian church bought by Catholic order which celebrates Latin Mass to open this month

Fortwilliam and Maccrory Church on the Antrim Road in north Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

A FORMER Presbyterian church bought by a Catholic order which celebrates the Latin Mass is to open to the public this month.

The first Mass will be celebrated at Fortwilliam and Macrory church in north Belfast on December 11.

The church, now run by The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, will officially open on Tuesday December 10 at 6pm with Vespers - the evening prayer of the Catholic Church.

The first Mass will then be celebrated by the institute's prior general, Monsignor Gilles Wach, the following day at 6pm.

The listed building on the Antrim Road, which served as a place of worship for 133 years, closed in October last year.

It was bought by the institute earlier this year.

The institute, which is also based in Limerick, operates separately from the Diocese of Down and Connor.

However, Bishop Noel Treanor gave it permission to establish itself in the diocese and he will attend the first Vespers and Mass.

The Institute of Christ the King celebrates the Latin Mass according to the edition promoted by Pope John XXIII in 1962.

In 2007, Pope Benedict authorized the continued use of the 1962 Latin Mass, under certain conditions.

Founded in 1990, the institute established its Irish headquarters in Limerick in 2006.

The body has 115 priests in countries including the United States, England, France, Spain, Italy and Gabon and more than 50 religious sisters, who live a semi-cloistered life.

A total of 90 seminarians are training for the priesthood at the institute's seminary in Florence.

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Northern Ireland news