PARISHIONERS at a Horden church will start their year of centenary celebrations this week to mark the milestone occasion.
St Mary’s Catholic Church, on Blackhills Road, was dedicated on April 26, 1913, and the church will be holding an anniversary thanksgiving mass on Friday.
Father Kevin Smith, who has served as parish priest for the last ten years, said the event will be one to remember.
“It’s a great privilege to be here for the occasion, we’ve been planning it for some time. Everything is coming together”, he said.
“We’re honoured to have many guests from around the country, and see so many with family links to Horden returning especially for the event, for whom the church means a lot.
“The Bishop of Jarrow and the Bishop of Beverley will be here, along with former Archbishop of York Lord David Hope, who will be the preacher. The Lord Lieutenant of Durham is also attending, and the Girl Choristers from Durham Cathedral will be singing. We’re very much looking forward to it.”
Events are taking place throughout the year at the church, including a flower festival from Thursday, June 27, until Sunday, June 30.
The festival co-incides with the arrival of the church’s new Curate, James Leigh.
Fr Smith said the event is hoped to be a huge success and people are looking forward to it.
“We’ve not had one for some time in the village, so it’s good to have it back. We’ve themed it all around the title, ‘100 Glorious Years’,” said Fr Smith.
“James is from Cumbria, and is currently studying at theological college in Oxford, but has links to Durham.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming him.”
Looking further ahead, the church is holding a Gala Concert on Sunday, October 27.
It will include a guest appearance from Seaham-born Sir Thomas Allen, along with the GT Peterlee Band.
Fr Smith added: “We’re delighted to have Thomas visiting us. He was born in Seaham, and is an internationally renowned singer.”