28 Park Avenue, 1905-6

In 1904 the Missionaries took over St. Catherine’s: Sunday Masses were at 8 and 10.30, with a children’s service and Benediction at 3.30.

The Tablet was to comment:

“The clergy now appointed will have an uphill task; there is neither church, nor presbytery, nor school.”

Fr. Chase and Dr. Arendzen, who served the parish, had to continue in residence, at great inconvenience, at Kensington Square. And now St. Catherine’s was too small! So, by agreement with the Nuns of Jesus and Mary, No. 28 Park Avenue — the very large house on the corner of St. Paul’s Avenue — was rented and several rooms on the ground floor were made into a chapel. The expense was met with the help of a grant of £200 from the Diocese and a private grant from the Archbishop personally.

The first Mass was said there on Rosary Sunday, 1st October 1905 — on which date our parish may be said to have started.

A somewhat reluctant Dr. Vaughan —he would have preferred to be sent to Saffron Walden — was appointed Rector.

Masses were said at 8, 9 and 10, with Catechism and Benediction at 7pm: a pattern that was not to vary much, apart from additional Masses, until 1939.

On the following Christmas the Willesden Chronicle reported that no fewer than six Masses

“were all very well attended and the crib was one of the best in North London.”

Meanwhile the Sisters had turned the upper floors into classrooms and a well- advertised fee-paying school for girls opened on 11th September, with 7 pupils. The nuns continued travelling from Harlesden.

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