IT was like Bethlehem to have a Istable for a church, but when Bishop Heenan made his first visitation to Cleckheaton he said: "You must build a permanent church and do it quickly."
For he found that in a parish of 500 people many could no longer get into the stable with shop-counter altar which had served them since 1925.
Nearly 40 years ago, Mgr. O'Connor, Chesterton's "Fr. Brown," who was then at Heckmondwike, hearing that there were Belgian refugees at Cleckheaton, established a Mass centre in the George Hotel.
Ten years later Fr. Nicholson. who succeeded "Fr. Brown." bought the stable, and .also a plot of land adjoining. A local Catholic blacksmith put up a sign. "Roman Catholic Church," so that there would be no mistake.
After 21 years. Fr. Nicholson left and Fr. Philip Wallis succeeded him as first parish priest. Last year, Fr. Wallis succeeded Mgr. O'Connor xt St. Cuthbert's, Bradford.
So it fell to Fr. Columba Mullan Li build the new church. The foundation stone of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour was laid a year ago.
On Tuesday. Bishop Heenan will go to Cleckheaton again—to open the new church with Pontifical High Mass at 8 p.m.