Page 9, 16th August 1963

16th August 1963
Page 9
Page 9, 16th August 1963 — O PENING time on Sundays is earlier than usual at the Squirrels Head public house, Ciidea Park.

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O PENING time on Sundays is earlier than usual at the Squirrels Head public house, Ciidea Park.

Three hours before Sunday morning regulars mill in to clink glasses smoke and chatter, Mass is said there for some 300 local Catholics.

They are part of I,000-strong congregation that newcomer Fr. John C. Leighton has to serve now that he has taken over the newly-formed parish of Gidea Park with no money and no church.

The parish includes parts of Harold Hill housing estate, Romford. and neighbouring Upminster. Fr. Leighton faces a

debt of MOO price of a plot of land in Brentwood-road where he plans to build a temporary church.

Idea for the lounge-bar Mass came last month when Fr. Leighton took a second look at the large public housc on the corner of Squirrells Heath-lane next to his cottage in Brentwood-road.

Said publican. Irish-born Mr. Jim McMorrow: " Fr. Leighton turned up out of the blue one morning and asked if he could use the pub for Mass on Sunday mornings. I was only too happy and so were Ind Coope, the brewers."

The first Mass in the pub was celebrated last Sunday. In the congregation was Fr. Leighton's 71-year-old mother, Mrs. Essie Leighton, who had risen at 5 a.m. and travelled from Colchester. Several people outside could not get in.

Said Fr. Leighton afterwards: " When I saw the great crowd surging in through those doors I almost lost my nerve. It was a wonderful morning for me and for our parish."

From this Sunday there two Masses in place initial one. will be of the

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