History

A brief history of the Holy Family Church

In the words of David Pearce writing in the centenary booklet, "Holy Family has never been an easy parish": The hard-working people have always experienced struggles. The first 'tin' church was second hand brought by canal in 1892 and then carted-up past the site of the school in Wigan Street and on to Lily Lane by the men of the parish. The priests and people worked towards, and dreamt of having, a permanent structure of bricks and mortar. The area became more prosperous in the '50s and in 1959 work started to erect the new church.

The tin church was closed on 7th May 1959 and the congregation moved to Holy Family Parochial Hall, Toll Street.

Priests of Holy Family serving the new church

  • 1956-1981 Fr.-Kennedy: RIP
  • 1981-2003 Fr. Philip Barrett
  • 2003-2006 Fr John McLoughlin
  • 2006- present Fr. Anthony Mangnall.

The foundation stone for the Church was laid by the Most Reverend John Carmel Heenan Archbishop of Liverpool on 11th October1959.

On 1st December 1960 Canon Meagher from St. Oswald's church brought the saints' relics which were placed in the altar and so the altar was consecrated. The next day 2nd December 1960 there was much work to be done cleaning and getting the new church ready for the first mass. In fact 1 hour before the Archbishop arrived Maura and Margaret were finishing off the cleaning.

On Friday 2 Dec. the new church, built on the site of the old one, was opened.

It had cost £40,000 and could seat 500 plus 50 in the choir gallery. Archbishop Heanan who was assisted by Canons Meagher and Cartmel reminded the congregation of the day 65 years ago when the old church come floating down the canal in sections "The older ones here tonight will have memories of the day when the old tin chapel came by canal barge from Aigburth, Liverpool. There it had served the parish of St. Charles well and here at Platt Bridge too, it helped to preserve our Faith. Although it was only an old tin chapel I know how much you revered it. Any church, big or small, can be for us a means of grace. And in that church so many of you received the grace of Baptism , made your first Holy Communion and many of you were married there. Also in that church you offered Requiem Mass for your beloved dead." Finally he wanted the people of Holy Family to be worthy of those who had gone before. "Those who have gone before you often had to worship in discomfort, but their discomfort was nothing compared to the discomfort and peril of their forefathers in the Wigan area."