Benedict XVI is offering a papal blessing with an attached plenary indulgence to those who attend the opening of the first shrine church in England dedicated to the Extraordinary Form.
The shrine church of Ss Peter and Paul and St Philomena in New Brighton, Wirral will open on March 24 following the closure of the parish church in 2008.
The church will become the first in Britain to be entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, a society of Apostolic life of Pontifical Right.
The Mass to mark the Church’s reopening will be celebrated on Sunday by Mgr Giles Wach, the founder of the institute, and Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury will preach the homily.
People are expected to travel from different parts of the country and some from overseas to the shrine church.
Bishop Davies said: “It is a source of great joy that we have received the blessing of the Holy Father and a plenary indulgence to mark the new mission of this historic church of the Shrewsbury diocese.”
The Vatican, which has taken an interest in the establishment of the shrine church, has issued the following decree announcing the papal blessing and plenary indulgence to all the faithful who attend the Mass: “The Apostolic Penitentiary, empowered by a faculty granted to it in a special way by our Holy Father Benedict XVI, by Divine Providence Pope, happily grants his Lordship the Most Reverend Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, that, on the 24th March next, on which the pastoral care of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul and St Philomena is solemnly entrusted to the members of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, after the offering of the Divine Sacrifice, he may impart to all the faithful present, who, their souls entirely separated from attachment to sin, take part in the sacred mysteries, a Papal Blessing with an attached Plenary Indulgence, which may be gained under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and Prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff).
“Those faithful unable for a reasonable cause to be present at the sacred rites may devoutly receive this papal blessing and the plenary indulgence, according to the norms, if they follow the rites with a pious intention of mind by means of radio or television broadcast. Nothing to the contrary withstanding.”