OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY AND ST THÉRÈSE OF LISIEUX

 
Stained Glass Windows, Our Lady of the Rosary Church
 

 


 

PARISH HISTORY III

The First Twenty Five Years

'Where we came from so that we might better know where we ought to go.'

 

The main structure of the Sanctuary had escaped intact but worse than the old tin hut on the black patch was the sad contemplation of that sorry spectacle.

Once more, in spite of the restrictions of war and consequent scarcity of materials, it was decided that there should be the Church of the Rosary in Birmingham. In lesser beings it would have been considered super-human, but Fr Power managed what we, through our experience of him in the past, took for granted. The Church was re-built.

The Rosary Hall of the Junior School was utilised for the purpose with the use of the wooden Altar, which had been preserved for the sake of sentiment. From December 3rd, 1940 until May 29th, 1943, nearly the length of time that was taken to erect the new Church from Fr Power's arrival here, the Holy Mass and all other services were carried out daily in this temporary refuge.

Fr Power was greatly encouraged and heartened by three factors. First, the fortitude displayed by the people on recovery from the initial shock; one of whom typified the attitude of all when he adapted the following lines: -


Let me carry your cross for Saltley; Lord
For Saltley weak with tears;
For the aged man of the worried brow
And the wife whom the future fears,
For the empty aisles of her broken Church
For her battered classrooms too:
Let me carry your cross for Saltley, Lord
What more can I ask of you?

 


The Archbishop made a visit of sympathy and gave his blessing to the Parish. Fr Power also received a letter from his cousin Archbishop Cantwell of Los Angeles, which is here quoted in part, as being very apt in what followed.


"Dear Fr John
It was certainly a heavy affliction that came to you but we have to thank the Almighty God that lives were spared. You and I cannot mind destruction of ecclesiastical edifices very much. We have been brought up in the shadow of ecclesiastical ruins. I am quite confident that your acceptance of Almighty God's Will, will bring a benediction upon you and strengthen you to greater work. May you live to see new Churches and Schools arising around you that in their strength and beauty will dim the glory of the ones that have passed away."

Already that month the work had started. On June 8th, Solemn High Mass was celebrated in the bombed Church on the Anniversary of the Consecration. Here an opportunity arises of recording sincere thanks to that great and loyal band of women who, month after month quietly and conscientiously carry out their self-appointed tasks in keeping our Church worthy of God's house, the ladies who clean the Church. (Over 50 years later - God's housekeepers every Thursday morning continue that way).

The Easter of 1942, the anniversary of the last bombing, the restoration began, the actual re-building of the Church commencing on November 21st, the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady. In February 1943 the sacristy roof was reached in the re-building of the Transept of Our Lady.

On April 9th, the slating of the Church was finally completed and on the 3rd of May 1943, the joyous invitation was given to all old Altar Servers to get their cottas ready for May 30th. The Church notices for that Sunday strike the required note to mark the momentous occasion: -

Masses at 8,9,10,11,12 Baptism at 3 p.m.
Triumphal return of Our Lord to-night at 6.30
Procession tomorrow morning: first Masses of Thanksgiving sung by the Choir in the new Church.
Tomorrow night first Consecration of the Children of Mary
All this week there are Devotions of Thanksgiving of
Rosary, Sermons, Benediction, Confessions Wednesday evening at 7 for Holyday.
Thursday is Ascension Thursday.
Novena to St Anne and St Therese on Tuesday and Thursday.

 


A View of the Interior of the Rosary Church Today


The opening note of the sermon expressed the feelings in the heart of every Parishioner. "For two and a half years we have been deprived or our beloved Church, and in that time the Holy Sacrifice has been offered 1,550 times in the Junior School Hall of St Thérèse, and 35,000 Holy Communions received there. The School children during all that time attended daily Mass, and surely this was the very golden lining of a very dark cloud.

On July 26th, 1943, The Feast of St Anne, the Altar dedicated to her honour was re-consecrated. Those present at the ceremony little knew that in December of that year the officiating prelate was to be appointed Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Griffin.

Stone Statues
On the third anniversary of the first bombing Fr Power left for Mount St Bernard Abbey to bring back the two Portland Stone Sculptured statues of SS Peter and Paul by Fr Vincent O.C.R. and the gift of Fr Power's friend Lord Abbot Malachi. O.C.R.


Our Lady of the Rosary Parish History Next Page

Our Lady of the Rosary Parish History Previous Page

Rosary Parish Home Page

 



latest update: 25/1/04