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History of Our Parish
Sacred Heart, Colne

Around 1850 an attempt was made to start a chapel in Colne, the priest journeying from Burnley to a room above the stables of the Angel Inn in Market Street. The priests had to be escorted by a policeman and the people outside listening to 'No Popery' lectures often out-numbered those inside.

In 1871 Fr Pierce Griffiths had arrived in Colne, there were then about 200 Catholics and services were being held in the Cloth Hall. In the last few years of the 19th century there was a great influx of people, many of them Catholic, into the town to work in the ever expanding cotton industry. This increase in the number of Catholics made more acute the need for a permanent church. By the end of 1886 a plot of land had found in Derby Street, the congregation was now about 400. The chapel was ready by 1888, but before long became too small.

Fr Mom found a site in Queen Street again belonging to Lord Derby. Building began in 1896 and the Church was opened before the end of 1897, although it was not complete. The first chapel in Derby Street now continued as a school the church was dedicated to the Sacred Heart and many years of continued building, improvement and refurbishment were to follow. As the congregation grew stronger it became necessary to open a new school. This was done in 1905, part of the money for this was raised when the parishioners gave one day's wage.

On March 2nd 1913, a chapel of Ease was opened at Cottontree dedicated to St Ursula. In June 1929 the land on which the church stood finally came into the hands of the church and Fr Aspinall embarked on his plan for rebuilding of the church interior by permanent embellishment. The work took several years, from 1934 to 1940, to complete the new mosaics on the walls and the Stations of the Cross alone cost just short of £6000. On September 7th 1940, Dr Henry Vincent Marshall, the then bishop of Salford came to Colne to consecrate the altar the church was complete!

Holy Saviour, Nelson

By 1881 Nelson families conceived the idea of renting a room over the Newton Co-op in Every Street to use as a Sunday school and religious centre. In 1883 the school chapel was opened and the Day School accepted its first scholars in January 1884. Thanks to the support of the catholic families both local and those belonging to the wider Catholic community and to the energy and inspirations of Fr Robert Smith, schools and chapels were opened across the district.

St Joseph's church was opened in July 1897. In Brierfield a chapel and school was opened in 1895. The church and school at Barrowford opened in 1887. At Red Skye, Pendle forest the oratory of our lady and the English martyrs opened in December 1899. The building which was to become St George's had plans prepared and opened in December 1900. The first internment took place at Holy Souls cemetery in 1901, the cemetery and chapel being consecrated in 1906.

In 1896 the site of Bradley Hall Barn was obtained for £50 and Holy Saviour school was opened. Within three days of opening the school had 72 children on the register. Very shortly many Nelson Catholics expressed a desire to have Mass celebrated in the school. This request was accede to in 1898. Fr Smith with the help of Fr John Connor continued to serve this mission from St Joseph's.

On Whit Sunday 1899 the Bishop gave approval for Holy Saviour (and SS Peter and Paul) to be worked and financed as distinct from St Joseph's. Fr Connor was formally appointed first rector of the parish in 1900. The Catholics of Holy Saviour were soon anxious to build their own church. Through their enthusiasm, hard work and personal sacrifices the memorial stone was laid in August 1904 and the church was opened on 19th March 1905.

At first only two thirds of the nave was built including the main entrance, a choir gallery, a temporary sanctuary and sacristy. A further improvement was the addition of a beautiful altar which was dedicated by Bishop Casartelli in May 1911. This altar was the gift of Miss Halliwell and was made in memory of her mother and as a thanksgiving for her reception into the church. Throughout the ensuing years the parish seemed to grow from strength to strength. This ever increasing community which by 1940 recorded adult attendance at Sunday Mass as approximately 500, not only prayed together but worked together to maintain and improve their parish.

Holy Saviours celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 1956 by extending the church to almost double the size, in addition there was a new sanctuary, confessionals and boiler house. A Parish community had successfully established a parish church and provided a purpose built schools for its children naturally felt a great sense of fulfilment. The emphasis was now not on major building works, but rather on the maintenance and development of these assets.

In 1993 Fr Michael Haworth was welcomed as the new parish priest and one of his initial tasks was the management of the refurbishment and redecoration of the church which was completed in January 1995. At the same time the old primary school next to the church was being used as a parish centre began a major renovation which was completed in 1998.

In July 1995, preparations began to celebrate the Centenary. A whole host of events took place throughout the year but by far the most special was the centenary mass held on the 8th June 1996, with his Eminence, Cardinal George Basil Hume, as the chief celebrant.

Sunday Mass & Service Times

9.30am - Sacred Heart, Colne
11.15am - Holy Saviour, Nelson
6.00pm - SS Peter & Paul, Barrowford

Weekday masses and confessions as announced in the weekly newsletter

Baptisms and marriages by appoinment

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Good Shepherd Parish Prayer

Jesus, you are our Good Shepherd.

You guide us, lead us and feed us.

Bring us together as one in your name, so that we may grow together in love for you and for each other, and serve you through all those in need, as we follow you,

The Way, the Truth and the Life.


SS Peter & Paul, Barrowford

In 1893 Fr Smith came to teach Catholic faith in Barrowford and build up the Catholic community. He started this mission by holding services in the open air opposite the White Bear and in 1894 moved on from these humble beginnings to an upper room over a stable in Gisburn Road. He transformed these rooms into a Sunday school and until October 1897 children gathered to receive religious instruction and to join the adults in a weekly service.

However for Sunday Mass, Catholics from Barrowford had to walk over to Nelson or Colne, but this was a big improvement as prior to 1871, when Sacred Heart was built, Catholics from Barrowford had joined with those from Nelson and Colne in the long tramp to St Mary's Burnley. In 1896 a large freehold plot with 14 cottages was bought for £1000 and this is where the church stands today.

Seven cottages were demolished and plans for a church and a school were drawn up. It certainly wasn't plain sailing, the board of education refused the school the necessary grant and the local authorities refused to pass the building plans. After a year of useless negotiation, on 24th October 1896, the Bishop consented to allow Fr Smith to take the risk of building the church and the school and his own workmen set to. The building work was beset with difficulties for the building materials were often interfered with and as work progressed men had to be set on guard all night, but despite this, the work progressed and by 10th April 1897 with the building half erect by voluntary labour, the Bishop of Salford, Bishop Bilsborrow came and blessed the memorial stone.

Catholics of district marched in a huge procession through Barrowford, complete with two bands and accompanying banners and then exactly one year after the Bishop sanctioned the start of the building, the church was complete and opened by Bishop Bilsborrow with the school opening three days later.

In 1900 Fr John O'Connor was appointed to Holy Saviours and SS Peter and Paul but it was a hard task and for Barrowford Catholics the maintenance of the school became an uphill struggle, but by dint of many appeals, begging borrowing the money was found. During this time seven applications were submitted to the government for the necessary education grant and all were refused until finally in 1903 after five years of strenuous effort they met with success and the grant was awarded. A Bazaar was held to raise £500 which was needed for among other things a proper entrance to the church, for up to now the only way in was through the doorway of an old cottage, located about where the wooden staircase is.

No talk about SS Peter and Paul could miss out a big mention for Fr Wilfred Cahalan who came to Barrowford in 1914 and stayed for 45 years. He worked tirelessly to reduce the parish debt by undertaking a lot of the maintenance work himself and in 1937 the debt was cleared. During his very first year, with the help of his parishioners six stained glass windows were installed, a lasting tribute to his family, himself and other notable village families and one was later added to him memory. During his time the Stations of the Cross were erected, a light polished oak floor was laid in the sanctuary and according to the records of the time the aisles were covered in new cork lino!

Gradually the church was finished, but Fr Cahalan was desperate to have music in his church and once he heard that Fr Smith had bought an old pump style organ from a chapel in Brierfield but after examination was deemed too expensive to repair he was not going to leave it until it was his. Fr Smith promised that as soon as he had a gallery in which to put it, the organ would be on its way to Barrowford. No sooner said than done, Fr Cahalan obtained a pillar staircase from St George's and with the purchase of some more timber and a few willing helpers the gallery was soon completed. Fr Cahalan dismantled the old organ and transported it to Barrowford and reassembled and repaired it with loving care and alleluia, there was music.

Unfortunately, 1997 brought a bit of disaster, the first floor of the building became unsafe as the gable end of the church was falling away from the rest of the walls and the roof, the church had to be closed as it was unsafe and the services were held in the church hall, which is underneath the church and was the original school that was closed in April 1952 as only nine pupils were left. The building work took 14 months to complete and the church finally reopened on Palm Sunday 1998.