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     A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST MONICA'S PARISH (FLIXTON)

 

1950 - The Right Rev Monsignor H V Marshall, Bishop of Salford, appointed Rev Fr P M Bates to the newly formed parish of St Monica's, Flixton. Fr Bates took up residence in what was formerly known as Holly House, Irlam Rd, Flixton, on 15 June 1950.

The use of the John Alker Memorial Hall, Flixton, was secured for Masses on Sunday mornings. The first two at 8.00 am and 10.30 am and taking place on 17 September 1950. The first Midnight Mass was offered in John Alker Hall, on 25 December 1950 (Christmas Day) - 400 parishioners attended.

1951 - The reconstructed garage was opened on 18 March 1951 (Palm Sunday) as a center for Sunday evening services and for offering Mass on weekdays. To be known in future as St Monica's Chapel.

1952 - Foundations commenced on the building of St Monica's Church Hall on 16 September 1952.

1953 - Coronation Mass was offered at 8.00 pm on the 1 June 1953. This was the first service in the new Church Hall. His Lordship Bishop Marshall blessed the newly erected Church Hall and celebrated 11.00 am Mass there on 23 August 1953. Among other dignitaries attending, were Chairman - Urmston Urban & District Council - Mrs Royle-Higginson JP, and Mr Leslie Walsh - Salford Stipendiary Court Magistrate.

Rev Fr Bates was appointed to be Parish Priest at St Ann's RC Church Blackburn on 10 October 1953. Rev Fr Joseph Houston was appointed Parish Priest on 16 October 1953.

1954 - St Monica's Church Hall was registered as a building for the Solemnisation of Marriages. Registration No 31191, on 15 June 1954. The Licensing Justice Court of Strangeways, Manchester, also registered the Church Hall for a Music and Dancing Licence. The same to be renewed annually at a cost of £0.5.0d. (25p)!

1955 - Fr George Drew, Redemptorist, conducted a Mission in the Church Hall from 20 February to6 March 1955. Rev Fr Joseph Houston was appointed Parish Priest at St Anselm's, Whitworth, Nr Rochdale on 25 March 1955. Rev Fr James Leo McVey was appointed Parish Priest at St Monica's on the same day.

1959 - St Monica's Infant (Mixed) School opened in September 1959. Headmistress - Sr Cecilia Julie SND. Staff - Sr Joseph Marie SND and 3 Lay teachers. Mrs A Wilkinson JP and Dr William Donnelly were appointed Governors of the new school.

1964 - St Monica's Junior (Mixed) School opened in September 1964. Teaching Staff: Sr Cecilia Julie, Headmistress. Sr Joseph Marie and 8 Lay teachers.

1966 - Rev Fr Thomas Lennon took up appointment at St Monica's on 11 September 1966, owing to the long and serious illness of Fr McVey.

1967 - Permission given to extend the school and in June, permission given by the Bishop to build a church and presbytery on Woodsend Rd South.

1968 - Bishop Thomas Holland laid the foundation stone of the new church on 24 May 1968.

1969 - Bishop Holland opened the new church and Mass was concelebrated with Fr Lennon and Fr Rigby, on 20 March 1969.

1970 - In September 1970, a Youth Group organised by the Convent was held in the School Hall on Saturday evenings.

1971 - Fr Leo McVey, former Parish Priest, was buried from St Monica's on 25 June 1971, Bishops Holland and Burke were present. Canon Larkin preached.

1974 - Canon Patrick Bates died at St Ann's, Blackburn, on 10 February 1974. He founded St Monica's in 1950.

1976 - A mission was held in the Parish, led by the Franciscan Fathers in February 1976.

1990 - Fr Thomas Lennon, Parish Priest at St Monica's for over 24 years, died on 20 Dec 1990. Concelebrated Requiem Mass, led by Bishop Kelly was held on Christmas Eve.

1991 - Fr Bernard Charnock was apppointed Parish Priest in January 1991, transferring from St Joseph and St George, Nelson.

The St Vincent de Paul Society was re-established in the Parish on 1 September 1991. "Life in the Spirit" Seminars began on 10 September 1991, with over 100 attending.

A Centenary Mass was celebrated at English Martyrs, Urmston, on 5 October 1991.

1992 - Permission was given to re-roof the church, on 14 June 1992. The Union of Catholic Mothers was re-established in the Parish on 28 October 1992.

Bishop Patrick Kelly made an official visitation to the Parish on 8 November 1992.

1993 - Work began on re-roofing the church in February 1993. The new lighting in the church was used for the first time at Maundy Thursday Mass on 8 April 1993.

Bishop Patrick Kelly solemnly consecrated the Church on 18 June 1993.

1994 - Plans were approved in March 1994 for a Nursery Unit to be opened at the School in September 1994. Sr Cecilia Julie SND, officially opened the new Nursery on 11 November 1994.

1995 - A special Deanery Service, led by Bishop Patrick Kelly, was held at St Monica's on 22 February 1995. The Sisters of Notre Dame marked their 150th Jubilee Year, with a Mass at St Monica's, led by Bishop Patrick Kelly on 25 March 1995.

1996 - A Parish Meeting was held on 8 May 1996, and representatives were appointed. A Jubilee Fund was established in the hope of building a Meeting Room - the "Jubilee Room" to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Parish in the Year 2000.

1998 - Sister Marie Stella SND, died on 12 Aug 1998. She had worked at St Monica's since 1959.

1999 - Permission for a Meeting Room to be built, was received from the diocese in January 1999. Bishop Terence Brain made an official visit to the Parish on 11 April 1999. The foundation stone of the new "Jubilee Room" was laid by Sr Cecilia Julie SND, on 12 June 1999, followed by a thanksgiving Mass for the work of the Sisters of Notre Dame at St Monica's 1959-1999, who were now leaving the Parish. A Parish Meeting was held on 30 September 1999, to help prepare for a "Jubilee Mission", in the Parish and School, in April 2000. The UCM used the Jubilee room for the first time on 18 November 1999.

2000 - A Young Peoples Group began meeting in the Jubilee Room in January 2000. A Mother and Toddler Group began in the Jubilee Room in February 2000. A Parish Meeting was held on 11 March 2000 to finalise arrangements for the Parish Mission, to be led by the Sion Community, from 2 - 16 April. The Mission will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Parish and the 40th year of St Monica's School.

A Jubilee Mass of Thanksgiving for 50 years of St Monica's Parish was celebrated on 14 June and a Mission "Follow-Up" was held after Mass with Fr Jim Flynn of the Sion Community.

A Sewing Group began on 11 October 2000.

2001 - March. Parishioners were invited to fill in Questionaires with regard to the Diocesan Mission Review, entitled "Faith in the Future".

Sr Cecilia Julie SND died on 28 December at Parbold.