This Sunday, October 9, Bishops Doubleday and Beck, A.A., Bishop and Bishop Coadjutor of Brentwood, respectively, both attend the great church at Walthamstow, Essex, for its anniversary celebrations.
The very first entry in the parochial Baptismal Register, shown visitors with pride by WaltharnstoWs present Rector, Mgr. Provost William O'Grady, V.0., V.E., 'bears the signature of Nicholas Wiseman as administering priest, the famous prelate who soon after headed a restored English Hierarchy as first Archbishop of Westminster and Cardinal.
He opened the first WalthamGRAIL MIME stow church on Assumption Day,
1849 ; the third Archbishop, Cardinal Vaughan, opened the pre. sent church in 1901, dedicating it
tot. the Conception and St. The illustrated booklet, issued for the centenary celebrations and foreworded by Bishop Beck, states how Bishop Bernard Ward, first occupant of the 1917 See of Brentwood, made Mgr. O'Grady his Vicar General, telling him to " face up to difficulties. and when your last hour should come, to go out like a man."
Mgr. O'Grady faced, since his appointment to Walthamstow in 1905, the difficulty of providing Mass for a swiftly-growing population in the huge area at first in his charge; establishing Mass centres in a number of places, he was man enough to do what hurts a lot, namely, to let three of them cut loose from him and begin as new parishes. Yet in this he followed the policy vigorously defended by Cardinal Bourne, who, on at least one occasion when preaching at Walthamstow, deplored criticism levelled at himself for advocating multiplication of small Mass centres.
Today Mgr. O'Grady is. rewarded: not only has he a vigorous Catholic congregation at his own mother church, hut can claim to be in charge of one of the few parishes in Brentwood diocese where reorganisation of Catholic schools under the 1944 Act has been carried out.
Bishop Knight, one time Bishop of Shrewsbury, was Rector of Waltham stow from 1862 to 1863. •
This Sunday's festivities include Pontifical High Mass, with sermon by Bishop Doubleday, while Bishop Beck is due to preach at the evening service.