RECTORS or PARISH PRIESTS
The Parish of St. Herbert, Chadderton, was formed by the Bishop of Salford, Dr. Louis Casartelli, on 1stJune 1916, as a sub-division of Corpus Christi Parish, Hollinwood, South Chadderton.St. Herbert was an Anglo-Saxon saint of the seventh century, who lived the life of a hermit on a small island in Derwentwater in the Lake District. The name was also chosen to commemorate Herbert Vaughan, a former Bishop of Salford, and afterwards Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, who had died in 1903.
The first parish priest, or rector as he was then styled, was Fr. James Lawless, curate at Corpus Christi Church, and the first Mass was celebrated on Sunday 2ndJuly 1916, in the North Chadderton Conservative Club on Victoria Street. In the same year the large Victorian house at 439 Middleton Road, facing the Town Hall, was leased as a presbytery, and was used for weekly Mass and other liturgical functions.
In 1917, a plot of land was purchased on Park Street, an insignificant cul-de-sac off Middleton Road, which was to be incorporated within the new road, Broadway, in 1925. A temporary iron and wood church, which had formerly been a local labour exchange, was purchased and erected on Park Street, and was to serve as the Parish Church for the next forty years. It was officially opened on 14thOctober 1917, by the Vicar General of Salford Diocese, Monsignor Lionel O’Kelly. The present presbytery, now the oldest part of parish property, was solemnly blessed on 4th August 1921, by the Bishop Casartelli.
Fundraising for a permanent church continued throughout the following decades, which were years of depression, war and austerity, but the long-cherished plans for a worthy church came to fruition in 1955. The temporary church, with slight modifications, was moved to an adjacent site where it was to serve the parish for a further twenty-six years as the Parochial Hall, once the new church was opened.
On 7th July 1956, the foundation stone of the present church was laid by the Bishop of Salford, Dr. George Andrew Beck, who later become Archbishop of Liverpool. The style of architecture is a simplified, modern version of Romanesque, with careful detailing and a broad west tower. The first Mass was celebrated on Palm Sunday 1957, with the Solemn Opening and Blessing by the Bishop taking place on 26thMay of that year.
The Solemn Consecration of St. Herbert’s Church was performed on 22ndMay 1961, by the Bishop of Northampton, Leo Parker. At various dates since, the embellishment and re-ordering of the church has proceeded, resulting in an attractive and appealing Parish Church. In September 1964, the parish was completed when the long-awaited primary school was opened to serve a growing parish. This has since been extended on a number of occasions.
In early 1981, the former church and parish hall finally passed into history when it was demolished and replaced by the fine, modern Parish Centre. This was officially blessed and opened on 18thDecember 1981, by the Auxiliary Bishop of Salford, Geoffrey Burke. Extended in 1985, it caters for a wide variety of social events for church members and the wider community.
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