The church is situated in the historic center of the city of Utrecht, and 600 faithful from the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany were present. The ceremony began with the rite of reconciliation that the Roman Pontifical prescribes for restoring a sacred building to Catholic worship after it has been used for secular purposes. The bishop first blessed the “Gregorian water”, a mixture of water, wine, salt, and ashes, then sprinkled the interior walls and the ground in the form of a cross, in order to purify the church of its profane defilements.
In his sermon, Bishop Fellay reminded the faithful that the artistic beauty of this place of worship is a reflection of the divine beauty, of which the Christian soul is also an image. He went on to point out that this sacred building has now been restored to the traditional liturgy for which it was built and that “has never been abrogated”, as pope emeritus Benedict XVI declared in his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum on July 7, 2007, although certain members of the hierarchy claimed it had been. The ceremony continued with a Pontifical High Mass celebrated from the faldstool, directed by the seminarians of Zaitzkofen, and enhanced by the magnificent sounds of the sumptuous organ and the baroque pieces that were sung most excellently and professionally.
After a luncheon attended by most of the faithful, the day drew to a close with Eucharistic adoration and the recitation of the rosary in this splendid church that is henceforth destined exclusively to the true worship of the one true Lord and Master of the universe.
The church was built in the 1870s, 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 country’s most beautiful neo-Gothic churches. The Society of St. Pius X has just purchased this monumental jewel.
Richly decorated and perfectly preserved after a splendid interior restoration, the edifice offers a unique example of the spirit of medieval art from before Calvinist iconoclasm. The monumental organ – built by Michaël Maarschalkerweerd – is one of the building’s major attractions.
After the disaster of the Second Vatican Council, this jewel came close to being destroyed. It was saved thanks to the persistence of Fr. Winand Kotte and was classified as a historical monument and designated as a trial project for the preservation of the European architectural heritage.
By restoring true worship to an architectural jewel consecrated to St. Willibrord (657-739), the first bishop of Utrecht, apostle of Frisia and the Netherlands, where his feast is celebrated on November 7, the Society offers a concrete illustration of its holy Patron’s papal motto: omnia instaurare in Christo.