|Mass celebrated at Chichester Priory|
Sunday, 25 August 2013
First Mass in 475 Years Celebrated in Franciscan Friary
It was an historic occasion in Chichester on Saturday 10th August when, for the first time in 475 years, Mass was said in Greyfriars Priory in Priory Park – the ‘Mass of St. Francis,’ in honour of the Franciscan monks who lived and worked there from 1269 until the dissolution of the Friary in 1538.
The chief celebrant was Fr Neil Chatfield, of the Eastbourne Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and there were over a hundred people in the congregation. The idea of having a Mass said in the Priory was the brainchild of Fr. Graham Smith, from St. Richard’s; he himself, with other priests from the Ordinariate, and our own Fr. Paul Turner, were the concelebrants of the Mass.
Fr. Graham gave the homily, including a short but well researched history of the Priory, saying also how it had been used for different purposes. The rest of the Friary buildings were destroyed in 1538 but the Priory church was saved and handed over to the Chichester City Corporation. It is now owned by Chichester District Council as part of its museum facilities and is known locally as the Guildhall. During its life it has served as a courthouse, town hall and an army drill hall.