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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Monday, 29th November, 2021)


St Patrick's.

Photo: Josh Marshall  (.)
Views: 2,253

Comment by: Mrs M on 29th November 2021 at 00:18

Thank you for posting this lovely picture. My mother and all her brothers were christened at St. Patricks. She married there as well. And later, myself and 2 siblings were christened there.

Comment by: Thomas(Tom)Walsh on 29th November 2021 at 01:21

A Jewel in Wigan's Crown.
St.Patricks Parish.
Tom Walsh.

Miss Egan , long time head teacher of the boys school and a lifelong parishioner. her entire school life was devoted to the parish spending 38 years at the school ;she always referred to St Patrick's Parish
' A Jewel in Wigan's Crown ' others would describe it as ' Thee Parish ' . However it is described there is no
doubt that ' St. Pats ' is much loved parish with a fearlessly proud congregation. This became apparent
when in the resent past the parish was part of consultation on the reorganisation of the parishes of Wigan . Thankfully , St Patrick's was spared , the steadfastness of congregation played no little part in its survival and under the outstanding leadership of Fr. O' Shea the parish goes from strength to strength.
Josh Marshall was also inspirational in the dark days.

It is difficult for people with no connection to the parish to understand how all consuming the parish family was to every aspect of life , everything seemed to revolve round parish life; particularly so before television and other means of entertainment.The social side of life also was taken care of by ' The Club ' with its 2 billiards tables , concert nights , and of course bingo ' The Nolan's ' were regular artists when they were at the outset of their careers .
When the club first opened it was a Mens only club , when the new club opened that rule was relaxed and women were 'allowed in ' at weekends . Later ' The Mother's ' would hold social evenings they raised many thousands of pounds for the parish . Father Lappin often was bowled over by the amounts they donated to the parish

I have recently been given access to the minutes of the club 1946 - 1960 they make fascinating reading .an example on 5th of June 1955 - The committee decided to buy the piece of land in Wellington Street for £20 allowing the the new club to be the full length of the spare land , incidentally the minutes were scribed are signed by John Mc Dermott headmaster of the school and the voice of Rugby League in Wigan , older readers will remember him as an outstanding commentator on Wigan's matches.

After the the tumultuous events of the past few years it was felt that a potted history of the parish would be appropriate . I have relied heavily of the research carried out by two stalwarts Colin Blake and Gerald Fairhurst R.I.P. and all the contributors to the wonderful and well written book ' with the sub title ' it's warmth undiminished ' published in 1997 to celebrate 150th anniversary of its foundation .

In the forward to the book Fr. William Naylor P.P. writes " As for you dear readers, may I invite you to take some pride in this story but not to stop at that. History continues day by day . Your forefathers made you what you are; your children's children will be what you make them. Treasure your Faith , that they, too may enjoy ".I think his words are well worth repeating .

St Patrick's was not a parish when it was opened in 1847, it was a church of ease served by the clergy of St Mary's Mission ( until a change in Canon Law 1918 Catholic Parishes were referred to as Missions )
The then parish priest ,Fr. Middlehurst died only two months after the opening of St. Patrick's .He was succeeded by Fr. William Wells and entires in notice books of the time show St. Patrick's was still under the auspices of St.Mary' s. In October 1848 St Patrick's baptismal records begins ; it is reasonable to assume that this was when it became a parish in its own right .

To digress briefly , from being a church of ease at its inception, St. Patrick's 110 years later had plans to build a church of ease itself . The longest serving and much loved Parish Priest Fr.James Lappin ( 1953 -1985 ) applied for planing permission to build a church on land adjacent to Lamb Street ,Whelley . A tentative name had been chosen ,St. Bridget's, in the end the plans floundered, as things transpired it probably a blessing that they did.

Father Nugent a curate, at St Mary's was promoted
to become first parish priest , he was to go on to found the Nugent Care Society , which still carries out invaluable work today. The work that he carried out among the poor of Liverpool is impossible to overstate . I think it's fair to say that Wigan's loss was Liverpool's gain. He died 1905. A statue of Fr. Nugent can be found in St.Johns Gardens Liverpool . After Fr Nugent's short tenure St. Patrick's, was once again fortunate by the appointment of his cousin, Fr. Huge Mc. Cormick who would serve the parish for 26 years , he saw the parish through difficult days of the cotton famine 1862-1865. He was held in such esteem that when the new girls school was built in 1928, 53 years after his death the school was dedicated to his memory . An unusual aspect of the 'new' school was the senior girls playground was on the roof, it was designed thus because of the lack of space; it was certainly a novel use the land available . A street that ran parallel with the church also bore his name ; I was fortunate to spend my childhood in 'McCormick Street 'and whilst they were basic houses, outside toilets etc ,I would have not wanted my earlier years to be spent anywhere else in the world ! In Wigan Cemetery there is a very impressive memorial to this obviously well respected priest , it was funded by public subscription ,which must have taken a herculean effort in those straitened times.

Including the present incumbent St.Patricks has had 15 Parish Priests, the people of the parish are rightly proud of all the holders of the office. A particular place in older members memories is held for the longest servicing ,Fr. James Lappin, who was a curate for 4 year before his 32 tenure as Paris Priest.The parish has also been blessed with well over 75 curates, the longest serving of these was Fr. Thomas Carney (1912-1928). It would be remiss not to mention Fr. Joseph Burns (1977-1986) the last curate ; he worked closely with Fr Lappin ,they could fairly be called ' The Dream Team ' so well did they work together.

St Patrick's has rich history and has provided Wigan with many Councillors and Mayors . In the WW1 Wigan's ( Wigan Brough) only recipient of The Victoria Cross was a former pupil os St. Patrick's School, Thomas Woodcock V.C. The parish lost many parishioners in both world wars , May they Rest in Peace .

The Darkest Day in its 172 years existence was undoubtably 18th August 1908 , The Maypole Pit Disaster , 75 men were killed , 20 of whom were members of St. Patrick's congregation, many of these were part of the Irish Diaspora . One of the three survivors was also a member of the parish , Mr. Edward Farrell , many of his descendants still live in the community today.

On the Sunday following the disaster a Requiem Mass was said for the dead . Dr. O Dohaghue delivered the address. His remarks echo down the decades, he spoke of " THE VOICES OF THE DEAD CRYING OUT FOR PRAYERS " who could not be have been moved to tears by such a sermon !

On a brighter note the parish boasts many achievements ; building six schools , the present primary school received OUTSTANDING on its last Ofsted inspection . Also building the largest church in Wigan which opened on the 18th March 1880 at a cost of £8000. (£905,000.today's equivalent ) this in the difficult times of the late nineteenth century no mean feat .

Many sporting successes not least the wining The Daily Dispatch Shield in 1926 ( I ought to declare an interest, both my Dad and Uncle were part of that team ) which laid the foundation for ' St. Pats. ' Rugby Club which has a 'rugby worldwide' reputation, known from Fiji to Australia to New Zealand. The parish is rightly proud that the present Chairman of Wigan RLFC Ian Lenagan is a former pupil.

Please God St Patrick's celebrates its bicentenary in 2047. I would like to attend although I would be 102, highly unlikely , but you never know !

Comment by: annemarie on 29th November 2021 at 02:28

I never did the night vigil but admire the devotion of the people who did.Lovely picture .

Comment by: Veronica on 29th November 2021 at 08:32

A forty hour devotion of intense prayer before The Blessed Sacrament in times of crisis. I imagine this would have happened during the last war at St Pat's . More often these days it has been reduced to The Holy Hour at Easter or Advent. There would be a continuous shift of people. I remember even more candles lit in past days. A lovely photo of a beautiful church. An old practice.

Comment by: Mick on 29th November 2021 at 08:51

I don't think god will be able to hear your prayers any better by climbing up on the alter.

Comment by: irene roberts on 29th November 2021 at 09:30

What a lovely photo-a-day. I have never been inside St. Patrick's but it looks beautiful. I look back on my childhood when I lived next door to St. William's in Ince and we Protestant children, for some reason, felt we could not enter the Catholic churches, and vice versa. The St, William's pupils used to have things such as "The Crowning" and "Confession"at their church and they tantalisingly kept those things very secretive from us Ince Parish kids! I can remember going to the Saturday Morning Pictures with my friend Pat and having to wait at the gate of St. William's for her whilst she went to Confession....with the speed she dashed in and out I always felt she couldn't have confessed to much! There was often a bit of name-calling between the two denominations if someone had "fallen out" with a friend of the opposing church but we were back playing together within five minutes! As I said, I grew up for the first 18 years of my life next door to the church and only went in for the first time when I was in my fifties, to a family funeral, but I'm glad I got to go inside before it sadly closed down. I am so glad that St. Patrick's still remains. It has obviously played a big part of the lives of the people within its parish. Long may it continue to do so.

Comment by: TerryW on 29th November 2021 at 09:39

Beautiful picture, Josh.

Mick, give it a rest, can you not just say how nice the picture is?

Comment by: Kim on 29th November 2021 at 09:52

I'm sure he will Mick,and you can't even spell.Beautiful photo !

Comment by: Veronica on 29th November 2021 at 10:41

I was baptised, made my first Holy Communion, Confession, Confirmed and married here. I visit from time to time. I remember my dad telling me when he was on leave from the Army he knew where is mother would be is she wasn't at home and sure enough she was there on the left hand side of the church, a daily Mass goer. Many memories of St Pat's with the walking days especially. 5 generations of my family came here from the 1870's onward. It holds a special place in my heart.

Comment by: Mick on 29th November 2021 at 10:57

I was in St Thomas The Martyr Church Up Holland last week, but I didn't go in looking for god, I went in and sat down in the cafe.
They've took out a lot of the pews at the back and turned the church into a cafe and post office, I had a mug of hot chocolate and a big piece of jam and cream sponge.

Comment by: Thomas(Tom)Walsh. on 29th November 2021 at 12:36

On a pilgrimage a few years a lovely old lady told me this little saying -

Every I pass a church I pay a little visit so that when at last I'm carried in the Lord won't -say who is it ?

Comment by: John G on 29th November 2021 at 12:51

Their you go Mick, when the good lord knocks on your door he’ll say, “Hello Mick do you still like cream sponge with jam on, and ride a bike”
Then have a go at this, it’s called humble pie.

Comment by: irene roberts on 29th November 2021 at 14:22

Tom, I love that saying from the old lady! Mick, I am all for churches being used for things other than worship if it brings in a bit of money and keeps the building in use, rather than seeing it cold, empty and decaying because it no longer attracts the congregations it did in past times. I am not a religious person either but I respect people who are and their places of worship, whether it's a tin chapel or York Minster, and if a little cosy corner can be made into a small cafe to bring in a bit of money and help to keep the church open, then good luck to the people who work to make it so.

Comment by: TerryW on 29th November 2021 at 14:24

Then he'll say "do you still condemn people in council houses" Mick?

Comment by: Mick on 29th November 2021 at 15:12

John G by having a mug of hot chocolate and a big piece of jam and cream sponge, I was supporting the church, more than some of you pretend keyboard do gooders
Ive just been out dogooding, I visited Wigan crematorium, Ince cemetery and Westwood cemetery.

Comment by: Veronica on 29th November 2021 at 15:51

There'll be a placard on the Gates saying " No Bikes to Pass these Gates". If you are hungry and thirsty go back down the hill, the kettle is permanently on the boil and as much toast as you can eat forever more. I've heard there's a terrible smell of burning rubber Another placard at the entrance which says
"Abandon Hope all ye who enter here!"... cos there's no jam and cream cakes....or pies for that matter.

Comment by: irene roberts on 29th November 2021 at 16:01

Mick, I love a mooch round a churchyard or cemetery but I wouldn't like to have gone today in this freezing weather, especially now it's dusk! I bet it was quite creepy, and yet there's nothing in a cemetery at midnight that isn't there at mid-day, except our imagination.

Comment by: John G on 29th November 2021 at 16:17

I like that Mick, “ a pretend Keyboard do gooder”
It’s got a nice ring with it.

Comment by: Kim on 29th November 2021 at 17:33

Mick have you ever hear of the phrase 'self praise is no recommendation' ? Because it surely applies to you!

Comment by: Veronica on 29th November 2021 at 17:33

I've heard of 'Keyboard Warriors' but not 'Keyboard Dogooders' !
Sounds like 'dogdooders' ...;~)

Comment by: Mick on 29th November 2021 at 18:16

Irene a good graveyard to look around is the one at the Liverpool Anglican cathedral, you can see the grave of the first man in the world who was run over by a train., also lot of seafarers from all over the world who died in Liverpool and one grave that as the names of loads of kids who I think died in the workhouse
Another on in Liverpool is the Chinese section of Everton Cemetery, the Chinese have a festival called Qingming festival known as Tomb-Sweeping Day its where all the family scrub the graves clean.

Comment by: John G on 29th November 2021 at 18:32

Josh: Thank you for sharing this beautiful place of worship with your photo of St Patrick’s.
And to Tom for the proud history of the church, it certainly has been and hopefully still is the bedrock of the community.
Unfortunately not a lot of churches have a community and congregation left.
My Mother was a parishioner at St Mary’s in Billinge and came from Irish descendants , so the family and parishioners were very strong.

Comment by: John G on 29th November 2021 at 18:39

Veronica: I thought that my self and I didn’t want to delve in it to much, but I’am a man of the world, and a chaps got to have a hobby.

Comment by: Bill on 29th November 2021 at 20:09

We were married in St Patricks church in 1965 by Father Flynn.

Comment by: Edna on 29th November 2021 at 20:15

St Patrick's is a beautiful church, and like you Veronica, it has a lot of memories for me. a special one was singing the Kyrie Eleison in church on St Patrick's day.

Comment by: annemarie on 29th November 2021 at 20:35

I think in Wigan we have some beautiful places and we should be and for the most of us are proud of. Our history is full of brave men wonderful places of worship and a people likr no other.This is one person proud to say I come from Wigan

Comment by: annemarie on 29th November 2021 at 20:49

My early years were in St Josephs with the lovely Fr Shee he was a saint.But St Patricks had a saints tune to beat any other Hail glourious St Patrick we never had a song to compare

Comment by: Michael Gormally on 29th November 2021 at 20:57

Why do people react to "Mick's" deliberately provocative comments? This simply enables him to achieve his aim to deflect attention from the photograph in question to himself. IGNORE THE IDIOT.

Comment by: Pat McC on 29th November 2021 at 20:59

What a beautiful, warm and inviting photograph of St Pat's. More often than not churches come across as cold and uninviting. It's great to be able to attend Masses again after lockdown - my only complaint is that we still aren't allowed to sing (not on Wales anyway) and with the start of Advent, the time for glorious music and carols. Hopefully next year.

Comment by: Scholes Malc on 29th November 2021 at 21:00

Internally the finest church in Wigan with its unique three alters, the ornate 'stations of the cross' and the full size statues ; but I am somewhat biased.
I can still hear Father Lappin scolding me as a fledgling alter boy, for pouring too little wine in his cruet!

Comment by: Veronica on 29th November 2021 at 21:03

I remember St Patrick's Day when we were at school Edna. A very important day in the school year. The senior girls sang the whole of the Mass in Latin up in the choir. My favourite part was the Credo. I went to Lourdes a few years ago and it was sung at the Candlelight Procession again in Latin and I remembered every word. Very emotional. We used to receive a bunch of shamrock that day. The church was always packed then. Fr Lappin loved that day.

Comment by: Veronica on 29th November 2021 at 21:59

I remember when the church was packed at every mass, so much so that people would stand up at the back, mostly young ones myself included! Fr Lappin would get really irritated telling people to come up to the front and find a bench to sit in! I used to go to the Sunday 6 00 Mass ready for the off for going out! The radio series 'Sing Something Simple' always reminds me of those days.! So many memories that stay with you...

Comment by: irene roberts on 30th November 2021 at 08:47

Veronica, my childhood friend Pat, (mentioned earlier in this p-a-d) and I used to sing "Sing Something Simple to soothe my pimple" when that radio programme came on, then have a fit of the giggles! I wonder if that's what she confessed to in her rather speedy visits to the Confessional Box at St. William's?!

Comment by: Veronica on 30th November 2021 at 09:30

If walls could speak in the those Confessionals Irene... they were more innocent times though.

Comment by: Mick on 30th November 2021 at 11:06

The flock might have been innocent, but not the Priests

Comment by: Veronica on 30th November 2021 at 12:19

Not ALL priests and not ALL Catholics either...

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