Welcome to St Augustine’s Roman Catholic Parish
I arrived in the Parish early March 2020 to set things up for Easter. However, after my second weekend we had to close the church as “Lockdown” came into force to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and the disease Covid-19.
St Augustine’s is a modern church build which was completed in 1968, yet as a parish its history goes back two centuries. In more recent times, the Parish boundaries were extended to take in all, or part of, the former parishes of the Holy Name (which now is a Chaplaincy for the University), St Aloysius, St Lawrence and St Wilfrid’s.
The whole area has gone through a massive demolition, twice. Firstly in the 1960’s huge areas of housing were demolished, leaving only the pubs standing. I remember as a child travelling into Manchester centre by bus via Stretford Road, seeing vast areas of rubble with the odd building left standing, which would have been a “public house”. You could see right across Hulme and Moss Side over to Chorlton and Whalley Range.
Replacing those houses brought the development of Hulme with walls of flats. They, in turn, have been demolished and replaced with modern town housing and apartments. So the original population has largely been dispersed and the parish now has a multi-ethnic population.
More recently, and still developing, have arrived high tower apartments for the University students and for professional business people who work in the city centre, which itself is expanding at a very fast rate. Retail and leisure, the arts and scientific and engineering research, all part of Manchester’s history, have helped to develop a vibrant area which St Augustine’s now serves. It has been said that St Augustine’s is becoming the most populated parish in the Diocese of Salford, and when you see what is happening it is difficult to doubt.
It is in this setting that St Augustine’s must, like its patron saint, discover a mission to a new world, a very transient population, as well as the local residents who have survived the years and are the mainstay congregation.
The complex of St Augustine’s contains two halls, the larger of which is the home for the Salford Diocesan Archives, which will move eventually nearer to the Cathedral. There is a smaller hall used by the parishioners for meetings after Mass and for small social events.
There are also the offices of “Marriage Care” which have not been as used as much as hoped recently, but we are looking to reverse that. There is a modern presbytery which was designed for use by three to four resident priests, but we can look at how we can best develop the use of this facility.
So there is a great future ahead; I hope to develop St Augustine’s to provide for the spiritual needs of the area. These past weeks have provided me with a time to assess how to we can provide that care in today’s society.
Please keep us in your prayers. “Stay with us, Lord, on our journey.”
Monsignor John Daly VG
Parish Priest of St Augustine’s