A REMODELLED church in Weymouth is finally set for full-time worship following delays.
Catholics are coming together under one roof in Weymouth and Portland now that St Joseph’s in Stavordale Road is ready for business and can accommodate more people.
The church has been refurbished and expanded in a £1.2m project. A new two-storey hall has also been built. The larger St Joseph’s will take over from St Augustine’s Church in Dorchester Road, which was due to hold its last service this morning.
The changes are part of a diocesan reorganisation due to a lack of clergy.
Priest in charge of the parish of Our Lady, Star of the Sea Father Stephen Geddes said St Joseph’s was finally ready.
Fr Stephen said: “There’s mixed feelings – I’m glad we’re able to move forward but I have a certain sadness, along with others, that we’re leaving behind St Augustine’s, a well-loved place that has played an active part in Catholic community life for more than 170 years.
“It will take time for people to adapt but it’s good to get moving on the journey.”
St Augustine’s, built in 1835, is a Grade II-listed building. Fr Geddes said it’s possible it could have a ‘community’ function now it’s no longer required for worship. The adjoining hall will continue to be used by groups for the time being.
Fr Geddes said St Joseph’s was well placed in the town with some car parking and also close to town centre car parks and on bus routes.
Statues and other artefacts have been moved from St Augustine’s to make people feel ‘at home’.
The larger church can accommodate 350 people, the total capacity for St Augustine’s and the old St Joseph’s.
Fr Geddes said the church was meant to be ready by Easter but there had been a delay in building work which was ‘frustrating’ for the parish.
St Joseph’s will be consecrated by the Bishop of Plymouth in a service next year.
A spokesman for OPCO Construction responsible for the building project said the delays were due to additional works being carried out at the site which it was asked to do as well as the main contract.