£100k St Marie’s Catholic Church appeal

St Marie's Church, Dunchurch Road, Rugby.
St Marie's Church, Dunchurch Road, Rugby.

A £100,000 appeal has been launched to preserve a major Rugby landmark for future generations to enjoy.

The parish community of St Marie’s Catholic Church are organising a fundraising day this Sunday, the anniversary of the Consecration of their outstanding place of worship.

Father Tony Furlong (parish priest), said: “There is a special significance to this year’s celebration as the community is in the midst of a £100,000 plus fundraising push to preserve the church for future generations.

“Major weathering damage to the stonework needs remedying, and a four-phase project is on course to begin this September.”

Activities on the day include a Caribbean style lunch in Hibbert’s Hall, with the church remaining open for visitors throughout the afternoon.

There will be conducted tours at 2pm and 3pm, while the parish organists will be on hand to play ‘My Favourite Hymn’ requests from 3.30pm to 4.30pm.

The 6pm High Mass will be sung by members of the Arnold Singers from Rugby School.

Nearly £10,000 has been raised so far by a ‘Sponsor a Stone’ appeal which enables benefactors to be named on a permanent memorial to this major restoration project.

St Marie’s spire, being the tallest in the county, offers a fine first impression of the town for visitors arriving from the Dunchurch direction.

It was added to the church in 1872, though the first place of worship there opened in 1847, designed by Augustus Welby Pugin.

The great benefactor of those first years was Captain Washington Hibbert whose family vault and impressive commemorative brass can still be seen in the church.

Father Tony said: “St Marie’s is known and loved by many in Rugby, either Catholic or not.

“There must be very few who have never crossed its threshold for baptisms, weddings or funerals.”

He added: “Now is the chance for all those who appreciate this wonderful building to come along on Sunday September 8 and appreciate it at their leisure.”

For more information on the appeal and how you can get involved, telephone Father Tony Furlong, at St Marie’s Church, Dunchurch Road, on (01788) 542703.