St Anne, Greenacres - Roman Catholic
Owing to the growth of the Catholic population in this district, Fr. Grymonprez decided to open a chapel and he said the first Mass here in May 1878 in an upper room over some cottages in Marsh Lane. The Vicar General, Canon Sheehan, preached in the morning, and in the evening Fr. Malachy O'Callaghan returned to Oldham to preach. In December that same year Fr. J. White, curate at St. Mary's, was given charge of the new mission. Bishop Vaughan when preaching in the new mission called it "Little Bethlehem".
At first there was great trouble in finding any land on which to build and indeed a house where the priest could live, so great was the hostility of the district to Catholics. Fr. White, when going on pastoral visits, was often jeered at and insulted. At last through the influence of Councillor John Collinge of Moorhey and Mr. James Page a suitable site was found.
A triumphal procession was organised on July 17, 1880, to walk from the old premises in Marsh Street, to the new site in Airey Street. Scholars from St. Patrick's, St. Mary's, and from Hollinwood all took part, carrying parish banners, and marching to the music of bands, so that the whole neighbourhood might know that "through the struggles, the adversities, and final triumph, they were determined to lay the foundation whereby a new generation of Catholics might be trained up in the true spirit of the Holy Catholic Faith" (Curley's History). At the site a cross marked the position of the new sanctuary and this was solemnly blessed by the Vicar-General. They built fast in those days, as the new chapel was opened on November 21, 1880. The Bishop, Canon Beesley, Fr. M. O'Callaghan, and Fr. V. Murphy, O.S.B., helped to reduce the mission debt by sermons. Fr. T. O'Callaghan, later well-known at St. Patrick's, Oldham, worked here from 1883 to 1894. In 1902 a second school-chapel was opened during the short rectorship of Fr. J. Nugent.
Fr. T. Cusack, Fr. J. Manning and Fr. Owen McNulty worked in the parish, the latter from 1906 to 1914.
Fr. Joseph O'Shaughnessy was here for many years and was followed by Fr. J. Linehan, who built the beautiful church that now adorns this parish in 1935.
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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