New £1m church opens doors in South Norfolk
2012: A £1m new Catholic church in South Norfolk opened its doors to its congregation on Saturday (July 21) when its new premises was finally ready.
Permission was first granted almost five years ago for Diss Catholic Church to build the church of St Henry Morse, off Shelfanger Road for its growing congregation and work began last November on the greenfield site.
The new church, which can accommodate up to 270 worshippers for a service, also includes a kitchen, day chapel, community room, and a first floor flat for the parish priest and replaces the smaller church in Stanley Road.
Father Simon Blakesley told EDP24: “Our parish has been on a journey and it’s very satisfying to be arriving at our destination. I’m looking forward very much to celebrating our first masses here in this building that has surpassed my expectations in its noble simplicity.”
It is believed to be the first church in the country dedicated to St Henry Morse, who was born in Brome, near Diss in 1595 in the middle of the Reformation. Despite the constant threat of violence and persecution, he became a Catholic priest and spent much of his ministry caring for the sick afflicted by the plague. He was charged with treason and hanged in 1645.
The new church was funded through the sale of its previous site, a loan from the diocese and support and fundraising or parishioners.
It features four restored stained glass windows from Showmarket Catholic Church, an altar stone from the Carmelite convent at Langham in north Norfolk and a restored figure of Jesus on the cross from RAF Marham.