The link between Warwick Street and the Portuguese community is to be strengthened

The UK Ordinariate website reports:

Portuguese celebrations at the Ordinariate Central Church

Following last year’s Mass to mark Portuguese National Day 2014 and to welcome back the Portuguese Ambassador and Portuguese Nationals in the United Kingdom to the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory in London’s Warwick Street, it has been decided that this occasion should become a regular fixture in the Portuguese and Warwick Street calendars.

The Church was built in 1789-1790 on the site of a former chapel, built by the Marques de Pombal, which was pillaged during the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots of 1780. The adjacent fine building, 24 Golden Square was built in 1675, and was the former Portuguese Embassy from 1724 to 1747, when the then Ambassador, the Marques de Pombal concluded his tour of duty. When the Portuguese moved out, the lease was taken over by the Ambassador from Bavaria, Count Haslang. It was the Bavarian Ambassador’s chapel that was extensively damaged during the Gordon riots of 1780.

The church was rebuilt and reordered at various stages and, in 1850, became part of the newly established Diocese of Westminster. In 2013, the Warwick Street church and presbytery were given into the care of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and it is now the Central Church of the Ordinariate, as well as continuing to serve as a Parish of the Diocese.

Since June 2014, various meetings between the church, the Portuguese Embassy Officials, Portuguese associations, musicians and press have taken place to find ways in which these links can be further developed and strengthened.

The most recent example of these collaborations was the formation of the Anglo-Portuguese Ensemble in January, when talented young musicians gave their inaugural concert featuring music by Portuguese and English composers.

On Sunday 7th June, the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Portuguese Ambassador, His Excellency João de Vallera, will visit the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory for a Solemn Mass to celebrate the beginning of festivities to mark Portuguese National Day on 10th June and to continue the re-building of the historic links between the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory and the Portuguese Embassy in London.

Keith Newton greets Portuguese AmbassadorMgr Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham said, “this is an important occasion both for the Ordinariate and for the Portuguese community and I look forward to welcoming His Excellency João de Vallera back to our church and to continuing the growing links between our two communities.”

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