Parishioners from St Aidan’s Parish, Winstanley, held a wonderful celebration on Sunday 5 December to mark the golden jubilee of their parish. Mass was celebrated in the church by Bishop Tom Neylon together with Father John Causey, Canon Pat MacNally, Father John Johnson and Deacon Jim Cardy. It was great to see so many parishioners joining together in this celebration after such a long separation for so many.
At the beginning of Mass Bishop Tom blessed a commemorative stone in the foyer of the church where everyone can see it. The stone was bought by the parish to mark the anniversary.
The first Mass at the Parish of St Aidan was celebrated in the newly built school on 5 December 1971. It was Father Daniel Cadogan who realised that Winstanley and Highfield were growing rapidly, new houses being built and young couples moving in. He had the vision and foresight to realise that a new parish was needed, which would include a new school and a new church.
Meetings were held in various parishioners’ homes in the neighbourhood. A survey was carried out to find out how many Catholics were already in the area. Money had to be raised so lots of fund raisers were arranged, the future parishioners of St Aidan, worked hard to raise the money for the new school and church.
After two years of hard work, the new parish celebrated its first Mass on 5 December 1971 in the new school hall. Contributions of £2 per person were received to help buy chairs for the hall, and a carpet to protect the floor. Every Saturday evening the men of the parish would roll out the carpet and set up the school hall for Mass the following day. This went on until the church was actually finished in 1974.
The celebration continued next door in St Aidan’s Parish centre, where it was a pleasure for parishioners to meet our new Auxiliary Bishop. 50 wonderful years of service to the community all celebrated in a safe but joyful way.