Stations of Cross restored in time for Lent journey

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Stations of Cross restored in time for Lent journey

As Lent begins, the Stations of the Cross at the Church of St Henry Morse, Diss, under restoration for the past few months, are back in place ready for the parish community to pray and reflect on Jesus’s journey to his crucifixion. Judith Tooth reports.

When the church was built five years ago, the Stations were brought from the old church in the town as a symbol of continuity. The silver-plated bronze castings, probably of French or Spanish origin, mounted on wooden crosses, are held in great affection by many in the parish community: no-one seems certain, but some think that the late Fr Robert McCormick ' better known as Father Mac ' made the wooden crosses himself during his time as parish priest.

Now hanging in a much bigger church, parishioner Richard Poole thought the Stations should have more prominence. "They were looking a bit tired, and really needed enhancing," he said. "I realised how beautiful they would look if they could incorporate the same stone used to make the altar."

Richard, a retired creative director, showed some drawings to parish priest, Fr David Bagstaff. Given the go-ahead, he set about finding local craftspeople to carry out the restoration and new stonework. Peter Hall, a metal finisher from Finningham, restored the bronze castings and applied new silver plate; Peter Dunsmore, who designed and built all the oak seating in the church, made new crosses ' the old ones having disintegrated, and Paul Blake, master stonemason at Watton-based H Brett and Son, made the new stone crosses on which the wooden ones are mounted.

Fr David is delighted with the result: "The restored and enhanced depictions of Jesus’s journey to Calvary, leading to the great promise and hope of Easter, are beautiful and contemporary to our church building. They should be a great aid to our prayer, which embraces both word and the visual. We will be praying the Stations of the Cross each week during Lent, at varying times to enable as many people as possible to take part."

Pictured top is master stonemason Paul Blake with the Stations ready to be hung on the walls of the church and, above,Fr David with parishioner Richard Poole in St Henry Morse, Diss.