Catholics gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the arrival of the first priest in Bedford 150 years ago.
The congregation held a special Mass of Thanksgiving in the church of the Holy Child and St Joseph, in Brereton Road, to mark the occasion on Friday, December 6.
In 1863, Father John Priestley Warmoll was sent from Northampton to set up a Catholic mission in the town where just 14 Catholics lived in a population of 14,000.
His first services were held in the homes of the faithful before he embarked on a colossal fundraising effort to build the church, which opened in 1874, and a Catholic school.
During the celebratory mass Bishop Peter Doyle explored the ideas of vocation and mission, which were displayed by Fr Warmoll.
After, Bishop Peter was presented with a copy of the biography Father Warmoll- Apostle of Bedford by its author Jack Robbins.
The service was attended by Chief Constable Colette Paul, High Sheriff Deborah Inskip and the Anglican Bishop of Bedford, the Rt Rev Richard Atkinson, along with children who attend the Catholic school.