Thomas Weld (1750-1810), was a wealthy and influential Catholic man who had shown great charity to many refugees who had fled to England during the French Revolution. Amongst his many acts of kindness, he donated Stonyhurst College to the exiled Jesuits and in 1798 he wrote a letter to the Rector of Stonyhurst College saying “I shall certainly be very happy to give the ground whereon to build the chapel at Clitheroe, upon condition of a perpectual anniversary Mass for both Mrs Weld and myself after our decease”.
From this act of generosity, St Michael and St John’s Church was built on its current site in Lowergate, Clitheroe. Unfortunately, through the mists of time, the condition of an anniversary Mass has been forgotten, until recently when Monsignor John Corcoran discovered the letter and decided to reintroduce the celebration.
To honour the gift of Thomas Weld, an open-air (weather permitting) Mass is held in the grounds of the Church, at 10.30am on the first Sunday in July. This is followed by a family picnic event with complimentary glass of wine. Monsignor Corcoran extends an invitation to parishioners old and new to take the opportunity to celebrate with them on this special day.[responsive_gallery gallery = 1]