You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:5
The foundation stone of the church is located at the bottom of the tower on the right of the garden door.
It says (in Latin):
"Aedes Sti Joseph deo sacra revmus D.D.J.G. Seadon C.R.P. abbas mitrulacus dictus de Welbeck una cum VG Daniele McCabe XRI milite fido urbis nostrae consulae hunc lapidem benedictum posuit.
AD V Idus Julias"
Which could be translated as: "The holy shrine of St. Joseph consecrated to God, the Very Reverend Doctor J G Seadon, mitred Abbot of Welbeck together with Daniel McCabe, Christ's faithful champion and Mayor of this our City, placed this blessed stone, in the year of the Lord the 11th of July."
There is no year given on the inscription (which is strange) but we know it was 1914. Thanks to Fr Paul and the Boston College Sacred Heart Review of the 1st of August 1914 for help with the translation.
The paintings showing the scenes from the life of St Joseph were commissioned in June 2011 to adorn the newly refurbished church. The work took just over 6 months and was completed in early 2012. The two large paintings hanging on each side of the Altar show the 'Flight into Egypt' and 'The Death of St Joseph'. The two smaller paintings on the sanctuary arches show 'The dream of St Joseph' and 'The Nativity'
Petrus Christus presents the Nativity in a quite unique way - at first glance the child is not prominent and seems almost insignificant, but the details, such as the cloak keeping him off the ground and the removed shoes (cf. Moses before the burning bush [Ex 3:1-6]) gradually reveal his centrality in this scene. The parents look at him with love and attention and the angels adore him, wrapped in wonder at the mystery of the incarnation. Perhaps they also can see what it must involve.
Saint Joseph was the protector of the Holy Family and God often guided him in this task through dreams. For example, when the Holy Family was in danger from Herod, and had to flee to Egypt without any delay, the angel of the Lord instructed Joseph on what he must do (Mt 2:13-18).
Juan de Borgona's "Dream..." sets that scene in the atmosphere of happy domesticity - with a full basket of washing, cooking fire and a recollected mother taking care of a child, while dad snoozes in his favourite chair. The angel, gently but insistently, shakes St. Joseph's shoulder and it is almost possible to hear him say: "Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt" (Mt 2:13).
"Flight..." and "The death of St Josephs"
Albrecht Durer's "Flight..." shows the Holy Family on their way to Egypt. Noteworthy is the expression of loving care and concern on St. Joseph's face which encompasses both mother and child and the determination of a most uncomprehending donkey to carry his precious load.
Juan del Castillo's "Death..." shows our Lady in prayerful recollection at the deathbed of St. Joseph, while our Lord holds his hand and blesses him. Although it is not recorded in the Gospels, tradition has it that St. Joseph died a happy death, before the beginning of our Lord's public ministry.
After the cycle of St Joseph's was completed, the worn out altar piece showing the Last Supper was at odds with new vibrant oil paintings. In 2013 a final painting was commissioned to replace it.
The photos below show the Sanctuary before and after the paintings were hung, and with the current set up.
Where to find us?
Parochial Administrator: Fr Rob Morland SMA
Address: St Joseph's Presbytery, Portland Crescent, Manchester, M13 0BU
Call or text: 0757 528 8370
Copyright © St Joseph's RC Church 2019