The Parish, 1910-33

In 1910 Willesden Green provided the music for the opening of the new church in Hatfield; and a miniature rifle range was opened by no less a personage than the Duke of Norfolk: “We believe it to be” wrote the Missionary Gazette “the first rifle range connected with a Catholic Mission in this country”(!).  In 1911 the parishioners’ “unfailing attendance” at a Mission preached by Fr. George Nicholson CSSR “morning after morning and night after night, and their reception of the Sacraments was a deep gratification to the missioner and the clergy”. . . so much so that Fr. Nicholson was invited again within six months!

Newly ordained priests of the Missionaries often said their first Mass at Willesden Green. For the Mission to non-Catholics held for 11 days in January 1913 “the advertisement was on a large and enterprising scale: a great number of handbills were distributed, posters were exhibited in all directions and a striking banner was placed across Willesden High Road.” (Missionary Gazette).

The curate, Fr. Alberto Parisotti, continued for a long time with an instruction class each Monday evening. Piety was fostered by a number of guilds: of the Blessed Sacrament, of St. Agnes, of St. Aloysius, of the Sacred Heart, Catholic Needlework; there were Children of Mary, the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, the Catholic Association and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. Of these, only the SVP survives.

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