Just before Christmas, St Francis Xavier’s Church (SFX), in the Everton district of Liverpool, celebrated its 160th anniversary.
To mark the occasion there was a special Mass on Sunday 7th December.
Towards the end of the service the parish was presented with the ‘Marque of Excellence’ award from the North West Multi-Faith Tourism Association.
This is in recognition of the success of the ‘Held in Trust’ exhibition, which took place in the church during August and September.
On Wednesday 30th July, 2008 a concert of rarely heard 17th century English music marked the opening of this unusual exhibition at St Francis Xavier’s Church (SFX) in the Everton district of Liverpool.
Liverpool’s role as 2008 European Capital of Culture was celebrated in this socially deprived area by exhibiting artefacts from Stonyhurst College, Lancashire, complemented by embroideries and church plate from SFX’s own beautiful collection. The objects were displayed in the nave of this stunning Victorian Grade 2* listed building and staffed by volunteers from the local community.
Stonyhurst College was founded on the continent by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) during a period of religious upheaval in Britain. At that time, many people asked the Jesuits to look after their most precious religious objects – ‘until such times as they could be used again’. These beautiful artefacts are still in the care of the Jesuits and many of them will be on show to the public for the first time.
The exhibition was divided into various categories or historical periods, with such objects as a book of Homilies of Pope Gregory from 1170, St Thomas More’s hat, a 1420 Book of Hours from Paris, amongst the display illustrating the medieval period. The Reformation section included a vestment made for the opening of Henry VII’s chapel in Westminster Abbey, Elizabeth Plantagenet’s Books of Hours, Katherine of Aragon’s chasuble, Cardinal Wolsey’s Book of Hours and the relic of the Holy Thorn for which Sainte Chapelle in Paris was built.
Vestments made by Recusants, a piece of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s kilt, Rubens' paintings and engravings, an Islamic globe from 1620, a crystal head of a Jain deity, Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, plus objects from Chishawasha in Zimbabwe were also included in this jewel of an exhibition. Also on display were vestments from the Chapel in the Portugese Embassy in London
A full list of exhibits >>>
Some Pictorial Examples >>>
Alongside the exhibition was a programme of concerts and talks. A schools educational programme also took place during final two weeks of September 2008.
The exhibition had over 12,000 visitors.
Some SFX Trivia >>>