1968

Fr Mort Stanley and Fr Robert Morrow were appointed to St.Kentigern’s Parish in 1968 they both moved in to the parish on the same day.

Both priests commenced an intensive home visiting campaign, in which all known Catholic homes in the area were visited, and others discovered either through word of mouth information, or by using addresses obtained from the new arrivals at the school.

At the end of 1969 the numbers attending Mass on Sundays and special Occasions such as Confirmation, First Communion, Midnight Mass or Good Friday put an impossible demand on the capacity of the Church- it became simply a matter of first come first serve.

Fr Stanley’s solution to the problem was to hold parallel services in the Parish Hall on popular feast days. Unfortunately the Hall was not capable of supporting this enthusiastic idea – the hall was a timber structure covered with galvanised iron. It was leaning quite noticeably to one side, heating in the hall was almost non-existent, and as far as the Fire Regulations were concerned it could no longer be used for public or large gatherings.

Fr Stanley decided to do up the hall by getting it jacked up straight and having it painted inside and out. Fr Morrow helped to recruit a number of men to wire brush the galvanised iron and paint it, a paint gun was hired to paint the inside. During this period, parish dances were held to raise funds –some in the Fallowfield and some in the school.

1970-71

When the hall was ready, the first dance was held with a makeshift bar that Mark Golden and Jimmy Beirne ran. Mark was later appointed as first steward of the Club.

There was great atmosphere and it gave people an appetite for more. It also gave Fr Stanley the determination to put in brick walls without disturbing the roof. There were

a few tense days when the roof was sitting on stilts until the walls were finally finished. Pat Fitzgerald was the bricklayer, an essential part of the specialist work was sub-contracted, but the bulk of the re-construction was done voluntary by the men of the parish working under the close supervision of the Parish Engineer Rev M Stanley.

A bar and beer cellar was opened on the left hand side as you entered through the main door and a vault was built at the other end of the building, a disused garage was used as a beer cellar.

Fr Stanley was still deeply involved in getting the Parish Social Centre extended when he was asked by the Bishop to take charge of St Michaels Ancoats; he left St Kentigern’s in 1973. The debt owed by St Kentigerns to Father Stanley is impossible to asses, as he worked unceasingly since his arrival in 1968.

Completion of the building project was left to Fr Morrow who organised the building of the Lounge and bar. Pat Fitzgerald was the builder.

Fr Morrow left St Kentigern’s in October 1977 to become Parish Priest of St Wilfrids Hulme.

 

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36 Wilbraham Road,

Fallowfield,

Manchester M14 7DW

Tel: 0161 224 2033