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History of Our Church
A brief History of Harold Hill and the Church It was in November 1949 that building of houses started at Harold Hill. The first row of about 30 houses was built in Gooshays Drive. Of these, four were occupied by Catholics. In one of the houses there lived the Pack family who allowed their house to be used for converts and other instruction including “RCIA” as the result of which ten members entered the Church. The family have long moved on, but it is right their pioneering work should be remembered in this booklet.
As the Estate grew Fr Gay from Romford arranged for Mass to be said at the Plough Inn, Gallows Corner (now Kentucky Chicken). A Mr Moriarty and Mr Regan are acknowledged as being the main persons for arranging the Seating and Altar for these Masses whilst Mrs Liater, Mrs Manley and Mrs Whillier were responsible for the decorating of the Altar and the cleaning of the linen.
It soon became apparent that arrangements would have to be made for Mass to be said at a more central location and arrangements were made with the Builders on the estate to use one of their canteens at 8 am each Sunday. Arrangements for these Masses were made by Mr Manley and Mr Harry Martin. The first Mass at this location attracted an attendance of 40, with others still attending the Plough, and the Nurses Home.
In 1952 the L.C.C. provided a house at 57 Tring Gardens for use by a Priest. This was first occupied by Fr Brian Foley on the 9th March 1952. A small chapel was installed upstairs where weekday Mass could be said and Confessions heard.
The building of the Church Hall commenced on November 9th 1952 after delays due to the Church Authorities exchanging their original allocated site to the present one.
This site would enable the Presbytery to be also built alongside the church. Both buildings were completed in 1953.
1953 saw our Parish formally established.
In 1954, St Ursula’s Infant School was built in Straight Road, followed shortly afterwards by the Junior School.
In 1956, St Dominic’s was built and the estate was divided into two Parishes.
Our Parish & Assistant Priest
( From 1949 until 1953 Harold Hill was served from Romford)
1953 – 1958 Fr Brian Foley
1953 – 1973 Fr William Luby
1973 – 1974 Fr John Kennedy
1975 – 1976 Fr Charles Loughran
1976 – 1985 Fr Brian O’Higgins
1985 – 1996 Fr Martin O’Connor
1996 – 2000 Fr James McCormack
2000 – 2004 Fr Gerald Gosling
2004 – Fr Joseph Tan
1966 – 1967 Fr Gordon Godfrey
1967 – 1971 Fr Donal Donegan
1971 – 1975 Fr Patrick Malin
1976 – 1977 Fr John Meehan
1980 – 1983 Fr John McGrath
1983 – 1986 Fr Brian O’Shea
Our Diocese & Deanery
Our Parish is in the . . . Diocese of Brentwood
A diocese for Essex was formed on 22 March 1917, by the division of the Diocese of Westminster and on 20 July 1917 the Diocese of Brentwood was erected by the Bull ‘Universalis Ecclesiae Procuratio’.
The Diocese consists of:
- the administrative County of Essex
- the Unitary Authorities of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock
- London Boroughs: Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Waltham Forest.
The Patron of the Diocese is Our Lady of Lourdes (Feastday: 11 February) with Secondary Patrons: St Edmund of Canterbury (16 November), St Erconwald (13 May) and St Cedd (26 October).
Bishop Alan Williams
Our Bishop, Alan Williams, is a member of the Marist religious order and, until 2015, was Director of the National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, Norfolk.
He was born in Oldham, Lancashire in 1951, took final vows in the Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) in 1981 and was ordained priest at St. Anne’s, Whitechapel in 1983.
Bishop Alan holds degrees in theology, psychology and religious education and has served in a number of pastoral roles.
He has worked as a teacher and chaplain in secondary schools. He also served as Catholic Chaplain at Sheffield Hallam University and taught Christian Spirituality at postgraduate level. He is a former major superior of the Marist Fathers in England and has worked as a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Southwark. At Walsingham, he had overall responsibility for pilgrimage and retreat work.
His episcopal ordination took place at Brentwood Cathedral on 1st July 2015.
Our Parish is in the . . . Deanery of Havering
The Deanery comprises the parishes situated within the London Borough of Havering:
- Collier Row, Corpus Christi
- Elm Park, St Alban
- Gidea Park, Christ the Eternal High Priest
- Harold Hill, Most Holy Redeemer
- Harold Hill, St Dominic (served from Most Holy Redeemer)
- Hornchurch, St Mary Mother of God
- Hornchurch, English Martyrs
- Rainham, Our Lady of La Salette
- Romford, St Edward the Confessor
- Upminster, St Joseph.
The Patron of our Deanery is St Edward the Confessor (Feastday: 13 October).
The Dean of Havering is Father Philip Denton
Address: Church House, Lowshoe Lane, Collier Row, Romford, Essex RM5 2AP
Our Parish is in the . . . Partnership of Romford Parishes
We are in a cluster of five parishes in the north of Havering comprising:
Collier Row Corpus Christi, Gidea Park Christ the Eternal High Priest, Harold Hill Most Holy Redeemer, Harold Hill St Dominic and Romford St Edward the Confessor.
In the coming years, these parishes will increasingly work together and will probably be served by only two or three priests.