Celebrating 250 years of faith and mission
In 2015 we are celebrating 250 years of a Catholic mission at Minsteracres
After the Silvertop family built a new mansion at Minsteracres in the 1750s they got more involved in the local area. They improved the farming methods on the estate and encouraged local people to develop their talents. A school was opened to provide education for the local children.
As Roman Catholics, the Silvertops remained faithful to their own religious roots and took the responsibility for their tradition seriously. In 1765 they engaged a priest, William Gibson, to become the first chaplain of a new Roman Catholic mission. This was the time before Catholic emancipation and there were no Roman Catholic parishes in England and Wales.
The priest had responsibility for the pastoral care of the Roman Catholics in the area and he also served as a tutor to the Silvertop children.
The congregation initially gathered for worship in a small chapel upstairs in the house. From 1787 the present library served as the public chapel til a new chapel was built in 1834 (designed by John Dobson). In 1854 this building was replaced by the present church, dedicated to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, which Joseph Hansom designed in gothic style.
A number of diocesan priests served the mission until in 1949 the Passionists came to Minsteracres and took over the responsibility for St. Elizabeth’s.
Over the years St. Elizabeth’s developed into a flourishing faith community with a good number of people participating in the liturgical life. The social dimension of the community is also well developed and these things help to be a missionary presence in this part of the world and further afield.
The celebrations will start with a special mass on 28th June and others will be organised throughout the year to remember the past, reflect on the future and celebrate the present.