OUR PARISH HISTORY

This letter is taken from the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Opening of the Church.

The present Church of the Holy Family had it’s foundation stone laid by Bishop Joseph Rudderham, Bishop of Clifton on the 7th August 1965, it took a year to build and was officially opened on the 30th August 1966.

         The Church in the Patchway community was very active much before this date! Canon Rea, celebrated the first Mass in the Community Centre in 1944 with a congregation of almost 200 people. These Masses were celebrated by priests from the parishes of St Teresa’s and Christ the King, Thornbury.

Canon Lucey, Parish Priest of St Teresa of the Child Jesus, Filton, built the Church. Bishop Rudderham established officially the Parish of the Holy Family and in September 1972, appointed the first Parish Priest, Fr Michael Lane.

Canon Lucey continued his building programme with the construction of Holy Family Catholic Primary School, Stoke Lodge, which opened in 1968. The Parish Hall was opened in 1985 by Bishop Mervyn Alexander.

Fr Lane handed the parish over to the pastoral care of Fr Rodgers, now of course Canon Rodgers, in 1979. Who went on to see the parish grow and develop, warranting a new Parish hall and  instigated the building of our second school in the parish, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, in Bradley Stoke, a much needed addition to Catholic education in the area. On his retirement he handed the parish over to Fr Bosco MacDonald (now Canon) who continued to serve the expanding community, and handed on the baton to Fr Eugene Campbell, the current Parish Priest, to take up his appointment to St Gregory the Great Parish, Cheltenham.

 

 

The Sisters of Mercy have had a very supportive and caring presence in the parish since May 1988. The community served by this House of God, is continuing to grow, with all the new construction that is taking place in the area, and all this means more people coming to worship our heavenly Father in this beautiful building.

This Church has contributed to the growth of the Church by over 1,632 Baptisms, approximately 1,900 First Holy Communions, over 87 people have been received into full Communion with the Catholic Church, 175 Weddings, and over 2,347 Funerals. The Church has been the focal point for many celebrations, both happy and sad. It has been there for all the community whenever they needed a place of peace and prayer.

 

All this has come about built on the foundations of the people who have chosen 

this parish as their home. Those who have lived in the community in the early days and helped to set out the Community Centre for Mass and have held many, many events to raise funds to build this Church and have contributed their talents to make this parish into the respected Body of Christ which goes far beyond the bricks and mortar, but is the blood, and tears of the Catholic Community of Holy Family.

This is YOUR celebration and it is with gratitude to all those who continue to make our parish what is it and those now receiving their heavenly reward, that we offer sincere thanks. The Catholic community has been present here for some 72 years. Long may it serve and grow. May we continue to be a parish that welcomes all and lives by the Gospel of Christ. Congratulations to you all.

 

Prayers and blessings,

Fr Eugene Campbell

Parish Priest.

 

 

Fr Timothy Barry's recollections of his involvements with Holy Family Parish, Patchway, on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of the Church 1966 - 1991

I once heard of a preacher who was asked for the secret ingredient of his success in the pulpit. In answer to the question, he replied "First I tell them what I am going to tell them; then I tell them; then I tell them what I told them and then I sit down!" I firmly believe in that simple system but it is quite another matter when it comes to putting it into practice. When I was asked to write a recollection for the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Holy Family Church Patchway, i readily agreed. I assumed that it would be an easy exercise which wouldnot require a great deal of effort on my part. But I was miles off the mark. When I began to put a few thoughts down on paper I soon realised that I had let myself in for a major exercise and I certainly did not have the opportunity to sit down as early as I would wish!

My memories of Patchway go back to 1953 and that is much longer than 25 years ago. When I arrived at St Teresa's, Filton in January 195, I linked up with Fr John O'Connor (the present Parish Priest of Corpus Christi, Weston-super-Mare) as an assistnat Priest to Fr Denis Lucey. At that time, there was no St Vincent de Paul Church in Southmead and, of course no Holy Family Church in Patchway. Southmead and Patchway were at that time part of St Teresa's Parish and the new Parishes of St Vincent de Paul and Holy Family did not come into existence until some time later. It was pre-Vatican II days and Church regulations were very different and more rigid than at present times. There were 4 Sunday morning Masses at St Teresa's (in the old Church) one in Fonthill Road School Southmead and one in the Community Hall, Patchway. In those days, evening Masses were unknown. St Vincent de Paul's Church, Southmead was opened in 1955 and it was the fervent hope of the parish that a new Church would soon follow in Patchway. There was a faithful nucleus of Catholics in the area who worked together and made many sacrifices to raise the necessary funds for such a project. However, these hopes were not immediately fulfilled as the situation in the old church at Filton became very difficult with increasing numbers and overcrowding. Fr Lucey felt that he had no alternative but to proceed with arrangements for a new and larger church to replace the old St Teresa's. The work on the new St Teresa's began in 1958 and was completed in 1960. Again, it was now felt that Patchway would surely be accommodated in any future building programme. Patchway, in those days was a rather sall community with a few Catholic families in Patchway Estate, Little Stoke and Stoke Gifford. Bradley Stoke, Stoke Lodge Estate and the large developments of recent years were never envisaged and the M4, M5 motirways had not yet spread their arms around the Parish. The faithful and patient Catholics of Patchwayreceived another unexpected setback to their dreams when Canon Lucy (in the meantime, he had been made a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter) decided that a new Primary School was needed in Horfield to serve the growing numbers of young children in the area. The Education authorities gave the necssary permission and the new school at Luckington Road was opened in 1963.

But Patcway's turn in the queue ventually arrived and the new Church of Holy Family was blessed and opened by the late Bishop Rudderham in 1966. It had been at that time a long overdue project but perhaps it was really a case of keeping the best wine to the last. Before the new Church was opened, a coach was necessary to transpot a number of people from Stoke Gifford and Little Stoke to the Community Hall in Patchway for Sunday Mass. Names like Sutton, Adam, Brannigans, Keelys, Pepworth, James and many others come to mind from those days. In Patchway itself pride of place must go to the Hinchey family. Cliff Hinchey was always at hand to set up the altar and arrange the Hall for Mass. His wife Teresa, played the harmonium and their four children formed the mani nucleus of the choir. The Sisters of Mercy of the conventin Westbury-on-Trym also played a majot role. They traveleed by public transport very Saturday morning to teach catechism and to prepare the children for the Sacraments. They were also very much involved in the life of the Catholic community and gave lots of practical help, whenever it was required. In addition to those names mentioned above, I can recall others who also left their mark in the memory - John D'Arcy, Drs Burke, Bill Green, Mick Crowe, Tom Watson, the families of Broughton, Foster, Brankin, Mulhern, East, Breen, Lord, McDonagh, Keen-Haudin, etc. I hope the many other will forgive me for not including their names.

Canon Lucy died within five years of the opening of the Holy Family Church, but he left many landmarks on the north side of Bristol. I always had the impression that he would die contented when his obligations to the Catholic community in Patchway had been honoured following the many interruptions to the building of Holy Family Church. Patchway has grown dramatically in recent years and is very different from the Patchway, Little Stoke and Stoke Gifford of my visiting days around Rock Lane, Bush Avenue and Callicroft Road. Many of the foundation stones of the Church in the area have since gone to their eternal reward but I am sure they are all smiling happliy on the celebrations to mark the Silver Jubilee of Holy Family Church. I was very privileged and fortunate to be part of the scene and the memories begin to flood back as I try to draw these recollections to a conclusion. It is very difficult to do justice to so many memories in an article of this nature even if I have exceeded by a very lang way, the principle outlined by the preacher. As a well known comedian said when he placed his bag on a table "I rest my case". It certaintly is time for me to sit down.

Fr Barry

Parish Priest

English Martyrs, Burnham-on-Sea.


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