Sacred Heart, Blackburn - Roman Catholic
Preston New Road,
Canon Bousfield wrote as follows about the early days of the parish:
At a time when houses were being rapidly built between Duke's Brow and the slopes of Revidge, Dean Woods of saintly memory, parish priest of St. Anne's, had the foresight to provide a plot of land whereon to build a school-chapel as a Mass centre for Catholics of the district and as a school where their children might be trained in knowledge, religious and secular. This courageous priest was without means, but possessed an abiding and boundless confidence in Divine Providence which later developments amply justified. The school opened its doors to a few scholars, whose names are on record, in January 1901. Later, Mass was said on Sundays and Holidays of Obligation. Priests from St. Anne's, notably Fathers Lynch and Edward McGuinness, ministered to the needs of the people.
On the last Sunday of October 1905 the infant mission of Blackburn was separated from the mother church to enter upon an independent existence. On that day I had to introduce myself to a sparse congregation as the new parish priest. For some time the receipts were insufficient to pay the interest on debt and ground rent. As there was no presbytery, Mother Bridget, of the Franciscan Convent, not only took me in as a stranger but gave me a right royal welcome. Her convent at that time was not in the spacious grounds near the Park, but in the less salubrious neighbourhood of King Street, close to St. Anne's schools. It was a long uphill journey from Princes Street to St. Silas's Road to any man each morning during the winter months. The journey on Sundays warranted a horse-drawn cab, shared with two altar servers, both sons of Mr. George Knight. One of these boys was killed in the war; the other became a missionary priest in the Southern States of America and was killed in a motor accident soon after a visit to England to see his relatives
A largely attended Congregational Meeting, held in the schoolroom on the second Sunday after the opening, debated ways and means to provide house and furniture for the parish priest. . . . Many things usually considered necessary in a well-established church were wanting. A joiner in the parish built a Confessional; altar boys clubbed together to purchase a thurible; figures for a Crib arrived in time for the Christmas festivities. A generous-minded lady paid the fee for the registration of the chapel for marriages. A Paschal candle stand was provided from the proceeds of the sale of a pamphlet describing a visit recently made to Rome. The gift of a brand new tabernacle, beautifully draped, was a welcome addition for the altar. . . .
So far the good work under Father Bousfield, who stayed until 1923, gradually built up a fine tradition and reduced the debt. Father James Cartin took charge in 1923, arriving from the chaplaincy at Notre Dame Convent. The numbers in the parish increased and Fr. Cartin was able to build up a fund for a new church. A fine site was acquired on Preston New Road and a beautiful church of modern design built in 1938.
Taken from "Salford Diocese and its Catholic past", a survey by Charles A. Bolton, a Priest of the above Diocese. Published 1950 on the First Centenary for the Diocese of Salford.
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