Page 9, 19th March 1999

19th March 1999
Page 9
Page 9, 19th March 1999 — St Patrick's, Leeds: the "shock announcement" From Mr Matthew David
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St Patrick's, Leeds: the "shock announcement" From Mr Matthew David

Wright Sir, In 1887 a new priest arrived with pastoral responsibilities for the 7000 Irish Catholic souls in Leeds. His name Fr Collingwood. Due to his own zeal and relying on the donations of the desperately poor he was able to open a new church in 1891, his vision of "Rome in Leeds". It was St Patrick's. This church, the former pro-cathedral was the centre of Catholic life, and the splendour of its interior (for the moment) can still be seen today. From this richly decorated church sprang clubs, schools and new parishes.

However the church is to be sold and the SVP (at present housed there) must find a new home. They are very desperate to do so as their furniture store and drop-in centre is to be sold around them. The club which Fr Collingwood set up in 1906 displays a notice which reads "After the shock announcement about the sale of the church and all its properties, we are led to believe that there are no facilities for a social club on the new site...We have , still no notification of a date or time when the club will close".

Is destroying a lovely church, our former pro-cathedral, putting an end to the Catholic club and leaving the SVP with no furniture store or drop in centre for the needy a product of the "pastoral sense" Mgr Boylan wrote about in last week's Catholic Herald? I know St Patrick's and the area it is in well, and I do not see how building a church "nearby" as Fr Willis . told The Catholic Herald will make any difference to the number attending Mass.

Is the notice of a "shock announcement" placed in the club a sign of a decision made after proper consultation?. And why, when the church hopes to make hundreds of thousands out of the site, do they collect for the new church at the end of Mass? The destruction of what our great grandparents paid for will not inspire someone who is 22, like myself, to give money. I would rather not have to tell my grandchildren that something I paid for is "an expen. sive piece of nostalgia".

Yours faithfully, MATTHEW DAVID WRIGHT Castleford, W Yorkshire.




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