The Society of St. Pius X Saves an Architectural Jewel in The Netherlands
The church of St. Willibrord was built in the 1870’s, when the Catholic hierarchy was reestablished in the Netherlands.
Nestled in the historic center of Utrecht, it is one of the city’s hidden treasures and one of the most beautiful neo-Gothic churches in the country. The Society of St. Pius X has just become the owner of this monumental jewel.
Very richly decorated and in perfect condition after a splendid interior restoration, the edifice reproduces in a unique way the spirit of medieval art that preceded Calvinist iconoclasm. The monumental organ built by Michaël Maarschalkerweerd is another of the church’s attractions.
In the ‘60s, this jewel came close to being destroyed, but fortunately it has since been classified as a historical monument and designated as a pilot program for the preservation of the European architectural patrimony.
The Priestly Society of St. Pius X is now the building’s owner and will celebrate Mass there on Sundays at 5:00 p.m. In order to celebrate the event with appropriate pomp, the ceremony of the reconciliation and blessing of the church will take place on November 12, 2017, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a Pontifical High Mass celebrated by the Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay.
Why a reconciliation ceremony? Because the previous association, in order to cover the operating costs, organized cultural events in the church; some were acceptable, concerts, for example, but others were entirely inappropriate given the dignity of the edifice. The sanctuary must also be blessed, because the church was desacralized when it was put up for sale and then bought by the Society.
By restoring to the true cult an architectural jewel consecrated to St. Willibrord (657-739), first bishop of Utrecht, apostle of Frisia and the Netherlands where his feast is celebrated on November 7, the Society of St. Pius X gives a concrete illustration of its patron saint’s motto: omnia instaurare in Christo.