The Catholic population is nominally 5000, with a Sunday Mass attendance in 1987 of about 1900.
At the later Masses the church is very full. As the parishioners are largely of Irish descent, if not actually recent immigrants, we regularly receive an additional assistant priest from the Irish Chaplaincy. There are growing numbers of immigrants from the Commonwealth, but not in proportion to those resident in the area.
Besides the Catholic organisations already mentioned, there are two different-style Prayer groups, a Pioneer group and two Senior Citizens’ clubs: the Wednesday Club and the Luncheon Club.
In addition to the long-established Houses of the Polish Jesuits, the Sisters of Jesus and Mary and the Daughters of Charity, we have also Houses of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux at 83 St. Gabriel’s Road, and of the Little Sisters of the Assumption at 52 Kenneth Crescent; as well as a House of Studies of the Divine Word Missionaries at 8 Teignmouth Road and the Provincial House of the Montfort Missionaries at 27 St Gabriel’s Road.
In the late 1980s the parish became the embarrassed focus of national media attention when crowds started to gather at the Lourdes Grotto in the mistaken expectation of a miracle— which did not take place, according to the disappointed visionaries, because of our lack of Faith….
Relations with the neighbouring Anglican Parish of St. Andrew are cordial: we hold regular joint functions, particularly the Rosary, Compline and Benediction in each others’ churches. Quite recently we were able to congratulate them on their centenary.
The present PP, to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the laying of our Foundation Stone, has commissioned a permanent font, to stand in the Sanctuary; and the repair and further improvement of the Lady Chapel where, in addition to damage, through extensive water entry from both the roof and windows, roots from a neighbouring tree had disturbed the altar steps and the floor marbles.
The font is to be consecrated by Cardinal Basil Hume at a concelebrated Mass on 4th October 1988.