The Parish Priests of the Mission

From 1908-9 Dr. Vaughan was sent on a tour of the United States, to investigate methods in use there for preaching the Gospel to Protestants and to raise funds for a centre for the Missionaries. In his absence Fr. Norgate was in charge. Mass attendance was now 450.

In 1909 Fr. Chase died and Dr. Vaughan was elected Superior. For the next few years he was occupied with setting up the Mission House (see later) and in 1910-12 Dr. Arendzen took over the parish. In 1913 it was Fr. Henry England’s turn; then Dr. Vaughan returned. But for the rest of his active life he devoted his abundant energy and intelligence, as well as his own money, not only to the parish but to Mission House, where he now resided, to the Missionary (later “Catholic”) Gazette and to the Catholic Times. Older parishioners remember him as “Parish Priest” until his retirement, but the Catholic Directory listed him as Rector only till 1917 and again in 1919-20. In 1918 and from 1920-32 Fr. Arthur Sharpe, now elderly but a compelling preacher, was at least nominally in charge.

The parish at the outset was almost aggressively missionary. A Mission to non-Catholics (who objected to the title but packed the church) was preached immediately in the August after opening by Fr. Elias Younan of the American Order of Paulists; it attracted a reply the following week from the Baptists at Huddlestone Road.

In the first week of December another series of sermons by Fr. Basil Maturin attracted “large congregations”. 1907 saw another Mission to non-Catholics and this tradition was maintained, at intervals, till 1924.

Early Baptismal statistics contrast with today’s: in 1906 there were 15 baptisms, six of them of converts; in 1907: 32, including 18 converts.

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