Mgr. Thomas Williams, Archbishop of Birmingham, yesterday opened the threeday bazaar which is being held to raise funds for the new church and schools at Maryvale, Great Barr, Birmingham. Of this historic parish and its present urgent needs, the parish priest, the Rev. P. J. Lynch, writes: " For many centuries the hand of industrialism left untouched and unspoiled this ancient parish of Maryvale.
" The name Maryvale ' was given to the parish by Cardinal Newman, who resided there. Bishop Milner also resided at Maryvale, and from here, in 1814, he went to Rome and petitioned His Holiness Pope Pius VII, for permission to introduce into England the Devotion of the Sacred Heart.
Pope Gives Picture
" His Holiness not only joyfully acceded to his request, but gave the saintly Bishop a painting of the Sacred Heart. This he took back with him to Maryvale, and placed it in the window of the little oratory. This painting is still there, and many wonders are claimed to have been wrought in favour of those who have visited this shrine, or who have sent their petitions there.
" A few years ago the Birmingham City Council in pursuance of a large and ambitious programme of rebuilding, then cast eyes on the little happy Vale of Mary, and decreed that it would be a suitable place to build houses for the people from the slum clearance areas of the city.
" A good percentage of the people who have occupied these houses are Catholics. The little church, which formerly was used as the chapel for the students of Old Oscott College, is much too small for the present congregation. There is not room for the children in the school. The result is that many of our Catholic children are at present attending non-Catholic schools.
Struggle to Live
" From a material standpoint the Catholic population, while large and growing, is very poor. The cost of living is much higher than in the city. Many of our people do not know what it is to have a full meal. They have to eat the cheapest and poorest food, and have not even enough of that. Yet withal they struggle each week to give a little towards the cost of the new church and school. May God reward them for their noble sacrifice."
Fr. Lynch has recently published an attractively got-up booklet entitled " The History of Maryvale," which traces the story of the mission from the Rev. Andrew Bromwich, who was condemned to death in 1679 during the famous Titus Oates Scare, down to the present day. The thirty-four pages are more than worth the modest shilling Fr. Lynch asks.
The Very Rev. Canon L. Emery, Rector, New Oscott, will be chairman on the opening day. Sir Patrick Hannon, M.P., will open the second day's sale under the chairmanship of Councillor Wiggins Davies, and Alderman T. 0. Williams, K.C.S.G., will open the third day when Canon E. Godwin, Ph.D., will be in the chair.