Over the Years . . .

.

On the sunny evening of Tuesday, 13th July 1965, St. Jude's Church was blessed and officially opened by Archbishop Beck. His Grace walked around the outside of the church, blessing the walls, followed by the clergy, altar servers, visitors and parishioners.

.

 

 

 

 

 

Archbishop Beck blesses the walls of the church

 

The church was officially opened with a silver key, and the parishioners filed into the church, many of them having to stand. His Grace, the Archbishop urged the large congregation to "make the church live", saying: "The new church would be empty and lifeless were it not for the community of Christ in Worsley Mesnes, who will make it live."

The pilgrim journey of St. Jude's Parish had begun!

.

Indeed, from the outset, heeding the Archbishop's words, parishioners enthusiastically started "to make the church live", led by Fr. Tobin and his assistants, Frs. M. Reilly, J.J. Byrne, D. Cadogan, M. Culhane and P. Barrat, who served at varying times. Until 1973, Fr. Tobin had two assistants, but, subsequently, only one.

.

Significantly, the former parishioners from St. Joseph's were a great support, and continue to be so, both by their faith and religious zeal, and their experienced help and co-operation in all aspects of the life of the newly-formed "offspring" parish.

.

1965-1977

.

Fr. Tobin was impressed by the enthusiasm and the number of men active in the parish. Many joined the new Social Club, which opened in 1967, and, while enjoying the social life, they organised numerous fund-raising events. Many of them also helped to implement the Covenant Scheme. Some joined the S.V.P. or became church collectors.

.

Above: 1965 - St. Jude's new church around the time of its official opening.

.

Many of the ladies joined the Blessed Sacrament Confraternity. They had a monthly Mass, held social evenings and jumble sales to raise funds and went on regular retreats and outings. A number of the ladies also helped to clean the church and to run the repository.

.

Later, a Young Wives Guild was formed. They held weekly meetings, celebrated monthly Masses, and helped in similar ways, organising very entertaining social events to raise money. They also invited groups from other parishes, thus establishing relationships with them.

.
Men and women of the Parish also formed a choir.
.

Sadly, Father Tobin died suddenly on 22nd December 1976.

.

1977-1984

.

In 1977, Fr. Michael Cronin succeeded Fr. Tobin as Parish Priest of St. Jude's. Parishioners warmly welcomed him, remembering him from his time as curate at St. Joseph's. Fr. Cronin's assistants, at varying times were Frs. J. Grady, W. Simpson and F. Ball.

.

During this period, a momentous occasion for the Parish was the ordination of parishioner, Fr. Stephen Alker, in St. Jude's Church, on 1st July 1978, his 25th birthday.

.

.

Above: 1st July 1978 - Parishioner, Stephen Alker is ordained by Archbishop Worlock in St. Jude's Church. Stephen served as curate at St. Joseph's, Leigh, and at the Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool, before being commissioned as a Chaplain to HM Forces in 1983.

.

During this time, the Women's Guild was formed, and also a Senior and Junior Praesidium of the Legion of Mary. Unfortunately, the Junior Praesidium disbanded after a few years.

.

In 1984, a significant development took place when Fr. Cronin chose the first group of Eucharistic Ministers for the parish. Some were commissioned in May and some in July at Upholland College.

.

Regretfully, in July 1984, Fr. Cronin was forced to retire due to illness. He returned to his native Ireland where he died on 7th August 1996.

.

1984-1989

.

Father Thomas Delaney was appointed Parish Priest in September 1984. In turn, he was assisted by Frs. F. Ball and P. Hurst.

.

Fr. Delaney had the very important task of training the newly-commissioned Eucharistic Ministers, and this he carried out with his customary care and dedication. Later, more Eucharistic Ministers were commissioned, including, in 1986, the first woman, Ann Rhodes.

.

During this period, at Fr. Delaney's request, the "Folk" Choir was formed, with children from the Primary School singing at the 10.00 a.m. Mass on Sunday. Also, week-day Masses became a fixture, and the porch door of the church was left open during the day so that people could visit the Blessed Sacrament.

.

On 1st June 1989, tragically, Fr. Delaney died very suddenly. At the time, he was in his office instructing a convert. Indeed, he died as he had lived - in the service of the Lord.

.

1989-

.

In September 1989, Father Patrick MacNally was appointed Parish Priest. Less than a year later, in 1990, St. Jude's celebrated its Silver Jubilee. Already 25 years a Parish!

.

In a commemorative booklet to mark the Silver Jubilee, Fr. MacNally wrote:

.

"During the past 25 years our parishioners did great work to make St. Jude's a parish we can all be proud of.

.

"In that period we had the second Vatican Council. It changed our ways of looking at and doing things . . . as a result we are encouraged to think of ourselves not so much as individuals, but as a community: the people of God.

.

" . . . Every single one of us, by Baptism, has an obligation to minister to one another.

.

" . . . We live in stirring and exciting times. We are involved in what we call 'Collaborative Ministry' - that is bringing together the different gifts of individuals, laity and clergy, to accomplish the mission of Christ.

.

" . . .  That is the challenge, and the harvest is great. The role of the priest (as I understand it) is to draw out and develop this potential - to inform and form others.

.

"The foundations have been laid by priests and people of the past. It is up to us, together, to build on them. We thank God for the progress that has already been made, in particular for the parish family spirit which exists, the various lay Ministries already coming into being, and the inter-church relations which have already begun.

.

"Together, let us continue to build on these foundations. We shall continue to invite more of our (parish) family to offer their gifts and talents in the service of Our Lord and His Church.

.

"As this work progresses, I have no doubt also that from within the parish family, young men and women will offer themselves for the priesthood and religious life, and I conclude with this prayer:

.

"Heavenly Father, send Your Holy Spirit to help us that our parish may grow and develop in Collaborative Ministry, in the ecumenical movement, and my fondest hope - that our parish be blessed with our own priests.

We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen."

 

Since his arrival at St. Jude's in 1989, Father Pat has been assisted, in turn, by Frs. P. Hurst, S. Henry, J. Keller and A. Jolly. Though since Fr. Jolly's departure in 2001 he has been without the assistance of a curate, the ordination of parishioner, Bob Smith, to the permanent Deaconate has helped to ease the burden.

.

Over the years, Fr. Pat has unstintingly strived to nurture a Collaborative Ministry within the Parish, encouraging members of our Parish Family to share their talents and skills for the benefit of others. . .

.

Importantly, to give parishioners a "voice" in parish matters, a Parish Pastoral Council was formed; the "Little Church" was established; more Eucharistic Ministers were commissioned; the numbers of Lay Readers increased; the reformation of the "Folk" Group helped to further enrich our celebrations; the beginning of Advent, 1993, saw the publication of the first edition of the Parish Journal; Parish-based  Programmes for preparation for the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation were introduced, with the formation of catechist groups; each week, during Lent and Advent, Bible Study Groups began to meet for the first time, often joined by members of other local Christian churches.

.

These innovations were a rich addition to the valuable work already being done by the groups that were already active. (See "Parish Groups")

.

Apart from the every day life of the Parish, St. Jude's Legion of Mary organise annual pilgrimages to Our Lady's Shrine at Walsingham, Norfolk, and to the Poor Clare's at Hawarden, North Wales. In addition to these, regular parish pilgrimages have been made to Our Lady's Shrine at Knock, Ireland, and there have been visits to the Holy Land.

.

Whenever possible, Fr. Pat has also endeavoured to encourage inter-church relationships within our community, and, upon his arrival at St. Jude's, began to work closely with the clergy of the other churches in the area (see "Guest Book Archive" and former Vicar Of St. Paul's, Rev. Julian Hartley's comments - 25/12/01).

.

Meetings of the 'local fraternal' are now regularly held and Ecumenical Services planned wherever appropriate. On 11th June 1995 the first Ecumenical Procession of Faith took place, involving all the local Christian parishes, which was a most momentous occasion and which has become an annual event.