In The Beginning...
The following is taken from an old copy of The Catholic Parish Magazinewhich gives an interesting glimpse into the history of our parish.
Sunday, 5th February, 1961, was a memorable day for the Catholics of Shevington. On that day their new Hall Chapel, dedicated to St. Bernadette was blessed and opened by the Rev. Dr. G.S. Malone, Parish Priest of St. Marie's, Standish, before a congregation of over 260 parishioners. The blessing of the building was followed by Evening Mass at 6.15pm and the ceremony was attended by the following clergy: - V.Rev. R. Baybutt ; V.F. Parish Priest of St. James's Orrell and Dean of the area; Rev. J. Gore, P.P. St Mary's, Wigan; Rev. W. Ormsby, P.P. Blessed Sacrament, Aintree, and his curate, Rev. K. Mullen ; Rev. J. O'Connor, P.P. St Joseph's, Wrightington ; Rev. V. Burrowes, Holy Cross, St Helens ; Rev T. Cheetham, B.A. St Joseph's College, Upholland ; and Rev. M.P. Moran, curate at St Marie's, Standish, who will share with Dr. Malone the duty of serving this new chapel-of-ease.
In His address to the congregation, Dr. Malone began by expressing the great joy that they all felt at the completion of the new Hall Chapel, and at the thought that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was now being celebrated for the first time in Shevington. After thanking Mr. H Hilton and family, who had most kindly provided the site for the chapel, and all those who had so generously contributed towards the furnishings of the sanctuary and altar, he went on to speak of the saint whose name the new hall chapel bears. As Our Blessed Lady was the Handmaid of the Lord, so St. Bernadette might be called the Handmaid of Our Lady. Thus the title of the new church aptly expresses the link which binds it to the mother church of St. Marie's. Besides this, St Bernadette was a modern saint and the wonderful story of her life has an interest and attraction to all. Dr Malone concluded by appealing to all the Catholics of Shevington to make full use of the facilities which the new building provided for them. As a Hall it would enable them to foster mutual friendships and enjoy social activities, and as a Church it would provide the inestimable blessing of an easy approach to Mass and the Sacraments. He hoped that they would learn to love this Hall Chapel and that it would become the very centre of their life. The joy and enthusiasm already shown by the people of Shevington gave full encouragement to the hope of a very zealous and happy community. They might well rejoice for now they could say with justifiable pride "At last we have a Chapel of our very own."
The new building is situated in Wigan Road, Shevington, close to the junction of Wigan Road with Church Lane and Old Lane. It is a single-storey building, 88ft. long by 32 ft. wide, constructed of Canadian red cedarwood, with very attractive vertical timbering. On entering, one is surprised at the spaciousness of the building which will seat 300 persons comfortably . One is impressed, too, with the brightness of the place and the simple beauty of the interior decoration. At one end is the Sanctuary, flanked on one side by the Sacristy and on the other by the Confessional. The altar is of simple design in natural light oak, and is surmounted by a pelmet, of the same material, from which hangs a curtain of red and gold brocade. This curtain forms the background for the altar and for the magnificent carved wood Crucifix which hangs above the tabernacle. The candlesticks and the tabernacle are of modern design in brass. The floor of the sanctuary is covered by a bright and attractive red carpet. All these features combine to give the Sanctuary an appearance of richness and beauty which is most pleasing to the eye, a beauty which is enhanced by the simple decoration of the walls with their vertical bands of slightly contrasting shades of the palest grey, and the lovely pale blue panels of the roof.
The main hall is divided from the Sanctuary by folding doors or screens which are pale blue in colour, and fold back like a concertina to each side when the building is in use as a church. A feature of the main hall, which is 65 ft. in length, is the magnificent floor of maple strip-wood which gives an air of warmth and comfort to the whole building. At the other end of the hall is the porch and next to it a spacious kitchen. In addition there are two cloakrooms, and also the toilets. The cloakrooms, when not in use as such, will form very suitable rooms for committee meetings, etc.
The design and structure of the building was by Messrs. Vic Hallam. The main contractors were Messrs. R. & J. Bradley, of Ashton-in-Makerfield. Electrical heating and lighting installations were by Messrs. Corlett, and exterior and interior decoration by Pagett's of Wigan. We congratulate them all on the production of a very fine building.
Parish Office at St Marie's
Almond Brook Road, Standish,
Wigan WN6 0TB
Open: 9:00am to 12noon
Monday to Friday
Rev. Fr. John Hindley
Serving the Parishes of:
St Bernadette, Shevington
St Marie of the Annunciation, Standish