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Holy Trinity, Newquay, Cornwall, England
Holy Trinity, Newquay, Cornwall, England.
Roman Catholic, Diocese
The church was completed and opened in 1903 and has been renovated
and extended over the years. As a result, the exterior, while
unmistakably a church, has a rather hodge-podge look about it,
most notably by the addition of a substantial porch in 1911
built to protect the entrance to the church from winter storms.
The interior, on the other hand, is simple, with arches and
pillars enhancing the open space. White walls, green carpeting
and plenty of light streaming through the windows give the place
a bright look – but stark! A Lady chapel has survived
the "reforms" of the 1970s relatively well, but by contrast
the main altar and sanctuary set one to dreaming of how grand
it all must have looked in the old days.
They sponsor a number of social outings as well as fund-raising
activities held at the church. They support the Sudan Volunteer
Programme, carrying on a number of relief activities in Sudan.
There is a special emphasis on children's liturgy and catechesis,
with an interest in getting children involved in charitable
Newquay is a popular seaside resort and fishing port on the
north coast of Cornwall. In the immediate vicinity of the church
there are several hostels and bed-and-breakfasts catering to
those visiting the world famous Fistral Beach, downhill from
the church. Most Holy Trinity is situated at the far end of
town, rather than in a more central position an area
that was in fact the centre of what was merely a little fishing
village at the time the church was built.
The Revd Mark O'Keeffe, parish priest, was celebrant and preacher.
He was assisted by the Revd Mr Brian Everall, deacon, who read
The date & time:
Sunday, 30 August 2009, 10.30am.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
Full, with lots of young families.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
A lady on duty at the door smiled as she handed me the parish
bulletin. I looked about for the familiar holy water font, but
in vain – they either have none or it was tucked away in an
elusive spot. I prefer to be left alone before mass starts,
and that's indeed what happened. But there were genuine handshakes
and smiles at the exchange of peace, which was very touching.
Was your pew comfortable?
It was a standard 1970s wooden jobby – absolutely fine for
me, with probably the most comfortable kneelers I've come across
How would you describe the pre-service
Very noisy with the atmosphere of a social club, amplified by
a guitarist or two rehearsing. I didn't see anyone praying.
In my opinion, quite disrespectful.
What were the exact opening words of the
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit, Amen" followed by a short welcome and introduction to
What books did the congregation use during the
The Laudate hymnal and the parish bulletin for the
readings and antiphons.
What musical instruments were played?
Electric organ and guitars, badly played, which never seemed
to agree with one another.
Did anything distract you?
Mostly the stark difference between the beautiful Lady chapel
altar and the contrastingly sparse sanctuary and main altar.
Also, being an organist, I took issue with the music, which
was not in keeping with the reverence of the mass.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or
Middle of the road, Vatican II Catholic worship. The celebrant
and deacon wore beautiful Gothic vestments and there was a small
amount of lace on the altar. Bells chimed at the hanc igitur
and major elevations, and the priest sang the per ipsum
with the people joining in at the great Amen. However, the mass
setting and "songs" were almost all 1970s ditties that I didn't
know. There was no genuflecting by the laity, no incense, and
only one server who didn't seem actually to do anything.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 Father preached in a very thought-provoking, fluent
and engaging style, with an excellent voice to match.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon
He started by addressing the laws laid down in the Old Testament
about following religion and how religion doesn't translate
into faith. He taught how we must respond to God generously
with open hearts, obedient to the words of Christ.
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
The homily. It was very Catholic and I'd give it two out of
three papal tiaras.
And which part was like
being in... er... the other place?
The music! I am only 21 but I knew none of the "songs" and would
have been extremely content with traditional hymns or even plainsong.
Altogether very frustrating. The improvisations by the guitarists
before and during mass made me want to shove my fists in my
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
The priest was shaking hands at the door. I had to rush off,
but I did have time to exchange some very pleasant small talk.
He thanked me for coming, which I greatly appreciated.
How would you describe the after-service
I'm not sure if there was any, but my breakfast in the town
centre was lovely!
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 I was only on a brief holiday in Cornwall. However,
when I return I intend to visit the parish again. My only reservation
is that in a respectable effort to be inclusive, the
music has become exclusive. I don't think I could put
up with that on a regular basis.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
Yes. The way the liturgy was celebrated really brought home
the importance of Pope Benedict XVI's emphasis on continuity.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The contrast between the reverence and humility shown by the
celebrant, and the behaviour and determination of the lay people
to turn the attention in the mass toward their participation.
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