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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 June, 2004, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Church campaigners' lily protest
St Mary of the Angels
The church's fittings cannot be touched
Campaigners fighting to reopen a closed Catholic Church tied more than 100 lilies to its railings during an open air vigil on Sunday.

Those fighting to save St Mary of the Angels Church, in Everton, Liverpool, were joined by Catholics from other cities fighting to save their churches.

They chose Sunday as it is the feast of St Anthony of Padua, when lilies are used to bless the church each year.

The vigil was joined by groups from Manchester and Belfast.

Chief campaigner, Kay Kelly, said the lilies are a sign of support for the church but will also be a spiritual blessing for those who leave them outside.
Kay Kelly
We pray that the church will reopen
Kay Kelly

"Although the church is closed we have the faith that St Anthony will still bless them.

"People will not give up their faith - we pray that the church will reopen," she said.

Campaigners were joined by people wanting to save St Michael's Church in Ancoats, Manchester, and St Marie's in Widnes, Cheshire.

Supporters of St Joseph's Church, in Sailorstown, Belfast, sent a symbolic lily over to Liverpool via a representative.

St Mary of the Angels
The public are urged to lay lilies at the railings

The vigil took place on the first anniversary of the unveiling of a plaque honouring Amy Elizabeth Rosalie Imrie, heir to the White Star Line shipping company whose donation built the church - nicknamed "Liverpool's Vatican" - in 1907.

Liverpool Roman Catholic Archdiocese, which shut the church in Fox Street, in 2001, insists it will never reopen.

But it was prevented by Liverpool City Council in 2002 from stripping its Italian High Renaissance-style interior fixtures and fittings.

Italians revolt over church closure
29 Nov 03  |  Manchester

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