Historic moment for Leigh as new parishes are blessed

THE Archbishop of Liverpool will visit Leigh this week to introduce two new Catholic parishes.

Today, Archbishop Patrick Kelly will visit Leigh to inaugurate the two new parishes, which are the outcome of 10 years of discussions to decide on the best way forward for the Catholic Church in the area.

The visit will see a celebration at St Joseph’s RC Church, which will be attended by parishioners from all nine existing RC parishes in the Leigh Pastoral Area, also covering the townships of Atherton, Hindsford, Tyldesley, Astley and Boothstown.

Father Stephen Cooper, of St Joseph’s, said: “This is a historic moment in the life of the Catholic Church within this area, marking the biggest change for many years.

“However, parishioners will not see a sudden change but an evolution as the different church groups start to work as one across the wider community.The church’s charitable work in the area should be strengthened by the move and schools will not be affected.”

The Archbishop will inaugurate the two new parishes during the 7.30pm Mass when they will be presented with Parish Seals and a new set of Parish Registers to record baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths.

The new parish of St Edmund Arrowsmith will cover the whole town of Leigh and will incorporate the church communities of Our Lady of the Rosary, Sacred Heart, Leigh, St Joseph’s, and Twelve Apostles.

The new parish of St Margaret Clitherow will cover the church communities of St Ambrose Barlow, Astley, St Gabriel’s, Higher Folds, Holy Family, Boothstown, St Richard’s, Atherton and Sacred Heart, Hindsford.