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Warwick Street to Welcome Portuguese Ambassador
Tuesday 13th May 2014

The Portuguese ambassador to the United Kingdom is to attend Mass at the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham's central church in Warwick Street, Soho, next month as part of efforts to restore historic links between that church and the Portuguese Embassy. His Excellency João de Vallera, along with other representatives from the Portuguese community in London, will be at the 10.30 a.m. Solemn Mass on Sunday 15 June, Trinity Sunday, which falls at the end of a week of celebrations to mark Portugal's National Day on 10 June.

The Warwick Street church, Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory - which Cardinal Vincent Nichols dedicated to the life of the Ordinariate in 2013 - was built on the site of a Catholic chapel which had served the Portuguese embassy in London in the early eighteenth century, when the embassy was located in Golden Square, Soho. That original chapel, built during the Marques de Pombal's term as ambassador from 1724 to 1747 (and subsequently leased to the Bavarian Embassy), was badly damaged during the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots of 1780. It was rebuilt in 1789-90.

Fr Mark Elliott Smith of the Ordinariate, the parish priest at Warwick Street, said: "We are very conscious of the fascinating history of this beautiful little church in Warwick Street and its beginnings as the chapel of the Portguese Embassy and we think it would be a wonderful thing to re-vitalise those bonds. We are delighted that the ambassador has agreed to start that process off by honouring us with his presence at Mass here on 15 June . We are also inviting representatives from a number of Portuguese cultural associations with whom we hope to develop ties".

The Mass will combine a flavour of the Anglican patrimony which the Ordinariate brings to the Catholic Church, with a Portuguese feel. Music by the Portuguese composer, Manuel Cardoso, will feature, alongside pieces by English composers including Herbert Howells and John Stainer. The Mass will be celebrated according to the Ordinariate Use, which integrates centuries' old Anglican prayers into the Roman Rite. The principal celebrant will be the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, the Rt Revd Monsignor Keith Newton. 

Mass will be followed by a reception for all at which Portuguese wine and finger food will be served. 

Mass is at 10.30 a.m. Sunday 15 June. Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, London, W1B 5LZ. All are welcome.

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The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
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©  The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is a company limited by guarantee with no share capital registered in England, Company Reg No: 07582943 and Charity Reg No: 1141536.