Only as recently as 1952, there was no Catholic Church or School in the Halewood/Hunts Cross area. Those Catholics living in the area attended St Mary’s in Woolton. It was there, to Fr Edward Murphy, Parish Priest, that Archbishop Richard Downey wrote, instructing him to undertake a census of the area and the needs of its Catholic population. Fr Murphy found that there was a Catholic population of 365 adults and 244 children. It was decided to establish a Parish in the area. On 20th November 1950, Fr Murphy was instructed to secure a site in Ashton Drive. This site of approximately 9,168 square yards, included Hunts Cross House, which was considered suitable for a Presbytery. There was local opposition to this proposed development, so Fr Murphy looked at other sites, eventually settling for a three and a half acre site in Portway, opposite Mackets Lane. The site was purchased for £1,400.00 with an initial budget of £5,000.00 to build a Parish Hall and temporary Mass Centre. On 4th August 1952, the Archbishop wrote to Fr Vincent Gaskell asking him to undertake the challenge and to continue the founding work of Fr Murphy. He lived at St Mary’s Presbytery and weekly meetings and fundraising events were held. It was decided to build the Hall first, so that Sunday Mass could be celebrated there and social and fundraising events held during the week. The Hall was built by volunteer tradesmen of the Parish, with the ladies providing refreshments and raising funds, and Mass began to be celebrated there in 1953. Work then began on the Church and Presbytery, which were completed in 1954. Thus the new Parish of St. Andrews was born and what was to be the future Parish of St John Vianney came into existence.
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Parish of St John Vianney
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