The church is normally open to visit or for prayer during daylight hours.
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The church in words....
The Lady aisle is the oldest part of the church. Outside, over the side entrance, you can see the same carving of Jesus and an eagle that decorates the front of the altar. This is the badge of the Canons Regular of the Lateran. Traditionally, the eagle represents St. John the evangelist. Inside the Lady aisle, there are four images of Mary – a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, a painting of the Greek Madonna from Ravenna in Italy and a window depicting the Coronation of Our Lady in Heaven in the chapel itself plus a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham near the side door. This statue was regularly carried in procession in May between Holy Trinity church in Granville Road and St. Peter’s.
The stained glass window in the Lady aisle depicting the warrior saints – St. Maurice, St. Martin of Tours, St. George, St. Joan of Arc and the Archangel Michael was erected as a memorial after World War I.
There are four depictions of St. Peter in and outside the church. The relief carving above the main doors shows the story of St. Peter being freed from his chains by an angel with Roman soldiers nearby; there is a statue of St. Peter above the porch – somewhat the worse for wear. Inside the church two more traditional statues show St. Peter with the scriptures in one hand and the keys of the kingdom in the other. One is just to the left of the crucifix at the back of the Sanctuary while the other, the parish’s most recent acquisition bought on a parish pilgrimage to Fatima and paid for by donations, is just to the right of the Sanctuary as you look at it
The six statues at the back of the Sanctuary are, from left to right, St. Monica – the mother of St. Augustine, St. Patrick, St. Peter, St. Augustine, St. Edward the Confessor and St. Agnes – holding a lamb.
In the Blessed Sacrament Chapel there are 3 paintings: The Last Supper – below the altar, Melchizedek giving bread and wine to Abraham (Gen. 14-18) – above the altar on the left and, on the right, is the story of the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). These flank a statue of the Sacred Heart. Above the altar is the first of two stained glass windows depicting Christ the King.
On the left hand side by the altar rails you will find a statue of St. Francis embracing Jesus on the cross.
On the pillar to the right of the chapel is an icon depicting Christ the King, again bought by parishioner subscription to mark the Millennium. To the left of the chapel is a modern carved wooden statue of St Anthony of Padua. Now mainly invoked to help find lost articles, St Anthony originally joined the Canons Regular before becoming a Franciscan where he became known as ‘The Hammer of the Heretics’.
The beautifully tiled side altar dedicated to St. Joseph illustrates three of the roles we associate with the saint – the window above the altar shows Joseph holding the infant Jesus, while the contemporary carved wooden statue of St Joseph the Worker shows a smiling carpenter. The ceramic tiles behind the alar show St. Joseph as patron of the dying and it is for this reason that this altar is the home of the parish Book of Remembrance.
The statues of the English Martyrs in the Martyrs Chapel, dedicated to the Conversion of England, were carved by an Austrian artist, Joseph Furthner (1890 – 1971). The chapel also contains a glass case with copies of St. Peter’s chains while above the chapel is a second stained glass window showing Christ the King.
Around the church are a set of ceramic Stations of the Cross and at Easter we bring out a large black crucifix with a white figure of Christ which is venerated during the Good Friday services.
In case you have wondered about the rather odd mix of scales of the figures sometimes used for the Christmas Crib, they are a mixture from two sets and the story is that when the church was last re-decorated in the 1990s, a set of figures was found locked in a cupboard where they had been put at the time of the Second World War.
Behind the carved screen doors of the baptistery there is more stained glass showing the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist as well as the original stone font where many parishioners will have been baptised and which Fr. Sean would like to see moved to the Sanctuary.
Then, of course, as well as other decorations and fitting in the church, there are the chalices, ciboria, the monstrance, processional crosses, candlesticks, vestments, lectionaries, missals, and other vessels, used as part of liturgical celebrations – a number of which were given by parishioners or to commemorate members of the parish.