The church of Corpus Christi in Covent Garden, London, has unveiled a new high altar as part of a major restoration project.
When the church was opened in 1874, Cardinal Henry Manning, the
Archbishop of Westminster, said it would be “specifically devoted to the
adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.”
It was the first Catholic church to be named for Corpus Christi – the
feast of Christ’s Body and Blood – since the Reformation.
church’s construction was intended as reparation for the
offences against the Blessed Sacrament committed in England since the
With the encouragement of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the parish priest
Fr Alan Robinson has begun to renovate Corpus Christi, sometimes known
as “the actors’ church’’ because of its historical relationship
with London’s Theatreland.
The narthex and Sacred Heart chapel have been
restored, and earlier this month the high altar was unveiled.
The back wall is now covered with gold leaf to signify God’s majesty,
and three carved angels sit over the tabernacle as a reminder that
heaven and earth come together in the Mass.
Above the altar are 600 handcrafted and gilded stars.
Parish administrator Alex Dimminger said: “The way the sanctuary
opens up into the heavens reminds us that we do not come to God alone. When we approach the altar, we join ourselves to the countless
angels, saints, thrones and dominions who praise and glorify God on
The next stage of the restoration involves renovating the nave,
floors and pews, as well as updating the heating and lighting systems.
The parish is accepting donations.
It also hopes to strengthen its identity as a centre of Eucharistic
devotion. Fr Robinson has launched a Sodality (association) of the
On the first Thursday of each month, a Mass will be
celebrated with a choir and a different guest preacher on the Blessed
Mass will be followed by Adoration and Benediction.