Pope Francis makes St Marys, Douglas, Isle of Man the UK’s first Catholic co-cathedral

Pope Francis has granted cathedral status to a catholic church in the capital of the Isle of Man.

The Church of Saint Mary of the Isle, built in 1859, is in Hill Street in Douglas, near to the Tynwald buildings.

It follows Douglas being granted city status as part of Platinum Jubilee celebrations last year.

Parish priest Monsignor John Devine said it was “wonderful news for Catholics across the island”.

The Church will become “co-cathedral” to Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, based 80 miles (129km) away across the Irish Sea, making the churches the first in the British Isles to share the same bishop.

The status comes about when both dioceses are merged or when a single diocese spans two distinct civil jurisdictions.

It follows a petition by the Archbishop or Liverpool Malcolm McMahan, to Pope Francis, which was supported by the Bishop of Sodor and Man, the chief executive of Douglas Council and President of Tynwald.

Monsignor Devine said there had been “limited appreciation of the unique history and traditions of the Manx Church in the rest of the archdiocese” in the past.

“The granting of co-cathedral status to St Mary’s will raise consciousness in Liverpool to the riches of the Manx church,” he said.

The archbishop said the Isle of Man was a “significant part of our archdiocese” and it was “fantastic that we can acknowledge this with the announcement of a co-cathedral, a status that is rare in the Catholic Church”.

Plans are being made for an official ceremony where the archbishop will formally take possession of his seat to mark the church becoming a cathedral.