St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, Leeds Centenary Book.1905-2005
The War Years (1939-1945)
Extracts from the Parish records:
June 1940: Evening service for the fallen wounded and
others serving in the forces. All should pray daily for the welfare
of our soldiers as well as for peace.
April 1941: We have been asked by City Authorities
to take charge of a food centre to feed 1000 persons in case of great
emergency. A great number of voluntary helpers will be needed. For this
purpose and to arrange officers and a small committee, a general meeting
of all volunteers will be held in the sacristy after evening service.
We appeal to anyone who can volunteer for this willing service.
July 1942: The Girls Training Corps. This organisation
fulfils all state regulations for girls training. The company was formed
by Miss Wandsworth who is handing over to Miss Coulter, a teacher at
August 1944: The names of those killed or wounded in
action were listed.
June 1945: The Bishops have asked Catholic families to give hospitality to the Dutch children who are expected to arrive in Leeds in July. These Dutch children are suffering from malnutrition and it is hoped that their health and well being will be much improved by their stay in England. The Dutch government insists on Catholic children being billeted in Catholic homes. Any Catholic family who wishes to take a Dutch child into its home is asked to give the name and address at the presbytery. It is a great act of practical charity.
The Consecration of the Church 1952
When the debt of the new church was fully paid for by the parish, the Church of St Augustine of Canterbury, was solemnly consecrated by His Lordship Bishop Heenan, the bishop of Leeds, (subsequently Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster.).
Forty-five priests attended the ceremony, and among the parishioners present were many who had attended the laying of the Foundation Stone in 1935 and the Opening of the Church in 1936. Now they had come to see the happy fulfilment of years of prayer, work and sacrifice Yorkshire Catholic Monthly July 1952
The benches were removed and the relics were brought in procession and placed in the Altar, a reminder of the first few centuries AD when the Christians who were being persecuted in Rome would hide and celebrate Mass in the catacombs.
The relics are those of St Emerentiana, Virgin, Martyr
(feastday 23 January) and Pope St Pontian, Martyr (feastday 13 August).
The Bishop was assisted by the Rev. P. J. Reeves (Deacon) and the Rev.
F. Moverley (Sub-Deacon). The Rev. H. P. Hennelly acted as Custos. The
Mass which followed was celebrated. by the Rev. P. F. Scannell. All
these priests were at some time attached to the parish:
In the evening the Bishop conducted the Perpetual Novena Service. In a short address he spoke of the beauty of the church building and of the splendid work done in the parish by the priests of St Augustines, past and present. He also congratulated the people on the achievement of clearing the debt in such a comparatively short time. His Lordship concluded with an appeal that this new era in the history of the parish should be marked by an increase in spiritual fervour and he asked all parishioners to make a greater effort to attend daily Mass.
The evening service concluded with Solemn Benediction celebrated by the Bishop assisted by Fr. Reeves and the Rev. Fr. A. K. Cluderay (formerly of St Augustines).
On Sunday, June 22nd Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated by Fr. Cluderay and a special sermon was preached by the V. Rev. Canon Henegan, V.F.
At the Evening Service the sermon was preached by Fr. Hennelly. Fr. Reeves and Fr. Cluderay were again present and they assisted at Solemn Benediction. The service closed with the Te Deum.
When the Church was consecrated all the benches were taken out and I was taken aback at the vastness of the empty church, but was wisely told Nothing is too big for the Greatness of God. The ceremony seemed to last for ages. We stood for hours following the Bishop and Clergy as they blessed the walls and all the parts of the Church. Sr. Imelda (Mary Healy)
Memories of the 1950s
In June 1952 there was an appeal to the men of the Parish to help with digging the foundations of the parish hall. Work had come to a standstill because of the lack of volunteers. The next week it was reported that one man had turned up for one evening and the records go on to say We know that the people of this parish can do better than that, so we hope to have a better response this week. The following week Fr. Daly thanked all those who had helped at the digging during the week and reminded those who had not yet done their part that they would be welcome next week.
Our parish priest suggested that we build a Parish Hall. One Saturday afternoon in June 1952 we began digging and continued two evenings per week. The digging team consisted of Mr W. Fulthorpe, Mr G. Clowes, Mr P. Garbutt and myself John Healey. Fr. E. Daly gave us a hand on the Saturday afternoons. Peter and I used to go to the off-license and return with a few bottles of Tetleys, which cooled us down in the afternoon sun. Alas, our digging had to cease as we hadnt applied for planning permission. John Healey
Maureen McHale recalls: We missed out in not having a hall in the early days and when Father Daly was here he tried to get a hall built. I can remember him going round to the homes of families with young lads asking them to help dig out for the foundations.
On 14th October 1956 a Parochial Committee was formed. Many Parish events were held at the Astoria. and Whist Drives were held every week at the Clayton Hall in aid of school funds. The teachers Whist Drive and Dances in January 1957 raised £129. The Football Pools seasons profit in 1957 was £4,835 - 8s - 2d. Mass Attendance at Easter 1957 was 2,122 and the collection was £27-14-0.