PARISH GROUPS

Friends of St. Patrick: Social and Pastoral group, meets about every two months.

St. Vincent De Paul (SVP): meets once a month, visits people in their homes and in hospital, organises outings and pilgrimages and healing Masses for the housebound.

Hospital / Home visits  to the sick

The parish is blessed with the Hope family project, S.V.P. visitors, ministers of Communion, parish volunteer workers, hospital ward visitors, etc. if you would like a visit at home or in hospital or know somebody who does please contact us at the parish number or the Hospital Chaplain’s office.

Jesus Youth Group: a prayer group with action songs and lively prayer for 9- 13 yrs.

St. Patrick’s School: Catholic primary school with a nursery for 3 to 11 years marks all the Church seasons and is actively involved in sport and drama.

THE HOPE FAMILY project: seeking out and supporting vulnerable families and wider community in Heath Town. The staff visit all on the estate and help parents and children and run a girls & boys group, play & learn and a mixed group.

Sunday Café: Sunday mornings after 9:30am Mass in the Hall.

Keralean Community: monthly Friday night vigil with Exposition of Blessed Sacrament and occasional Masses in Syro-Malabar Rite.

ST PATRICK'S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL

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The Beginning

In September 1964 St Patricks Church was informed that the site was required, by the council, for redevelopment. The site chosen for the new church was not big enough for the construction of a school so alternative arrangements needed to be made. It was a difficult decision and needed changes to Parish boundaries and sites, but in 1970 St Patricks Catholic Primary School opened on its current site in Graisley Lane.

The School owes a debt of gratitude to many people including Canon Allport, parishioners, governors and the local councillor at the time, Jennie Lee.

Mission Statement

‘We are committed to teaching the Catholic faith to the children of our school. We are committed to deepening their sense of commitment to their faith through knowledge, prayer and liturgy and to encourage them to reflect their faith in all their daily lives.’

The commitment of the school to engendering faith mirrors the Parish mission to honour and praise God to every nation. The Department of Religious Education inspection report noted that ‘Prayer and collective worship are embedded in school life'.

The Catholic faith is the ultimate source of the cohesion and creates a great sense of belonging. There are many nationalities at the school and there is scope to express identity without fear. The Ofsted report noted that the proportion of pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds is higher than most schools. This is a real blessing and represents the diversity of God’s family, a little microcosm of the world. Of the 231 on roll about 50% are Catholic.

The RE inspection and the Ofsted report of October 2007 considered the links between parish and school as strong. We have a school I parish Masses once a term, regular class Masses preceded by confession. We have school display boards in Church that are filled to reflect the liturgical season or the Sacraments to be received. In recent month’s we have attracted more pupils to altar serving and continue to enjQy good attendance at our monthly Jesus Youth group.

In 2010 our School celebrated their 40th anniversary with a party in the playground and a sing a long. All pupils and staff then attended a Mass of Thanksgiving at St Patricks Church to celebrate the school, its staff, past and present, pupils and all those people who made the school possible from the very beginning. So many people have helped St Patricks reach this milestone of 40 years in education, enriching the lives of all who have passed through its doors while embracing the Catholic ethos of this school.

THE HOPE FAMILY

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The Beginning

The Hope family project is a real gift for our parish, situated in the centre of Heath Town its service and care is acknowledged widely. In charting the history we should pay tribute to the Mercy Sisters who served at St Patrick’s until 1984 when the parish sister was moved to London. Following that change Canon Ailport approached Sr. Frances, the Superior of Merridale Road, community of the Infant Jesus Sisters for help. In February 1985 Sr. Margaret, Sr. Mary Joy and Sr. Brid began working in the parish. CanOn Aliport was very pleased when his request for help in the hospital and parish was accepted and the sisters suggested doing a census in Heath Town. (A later census would take place in Park Village and the High rise flats in Wednesfield) For many years from 1985 the Infant Jesus Sisters did hospital work firstly those based at Heath Town Community and later Sr. Ann Breen and Sr. Mary O’Connell from Merridale Road.

The Hope Community was formed in 1985 by three members of the Infant Jesus Sisters: Sr. Margaret, Sr. Bernadette and Sr. Brid after many conversations with the Parish Priest, the Order leadership and listening to stories of people on the estate who felt forgotten by society, by the Church and even by their own families and experienced isolation, loneliness and fear and yet there was so much to unlock and share. Sister Margaret Walsh recalls driving through the Heath Town estate and sensing what the Lord was asking of them.

Sister Margaret relates how the words of Saint Peter kept surfacing in her prayers: ‘Be ready always with an answer to everyone who asks a reason for the hope that is in you’: (1 Peter 315) People longed for hope, the virtue of hope was to be shared with the people of Heath Town and the fledging community would take hope for its name. The Sisters had a deep desire to live among the people and this came to fruition in October 1985 when they took up residence in two and later four maisonettes. The sisters would listen to the people and encourage them to participate fully in community and family life.

In 1994 a partnership was formed between Father Hudson’s Society and the Infant Jesus Sisters. The need for community workers was identified mainly to develop a literacy project for young families.
On Saturday 2nd October 2010 we celebrated 25 years of the hope community with a Mass and reception.

Today and the Future

There is now a team of paid staff and volunteers who continue to be inspired by the words of Nicholas Barre: ‘The Holy Spirit teaches us to love as Jesus loved’. The vision remains to seek out the most marginalized and isolated individuals and families in the area principally by door knocking. There is a girl’s group, boys group, play and learn and a mixed group, carol processions and carnivals and a deep love of and a deep hope in others.

The Hope Family Centre provides outreach work, making home visits, to offer support to families and introducing them to facilities that are available within the area. These services are available to all: children and families, including newly arrived families, older people, young people and individuals.
We also run groups – carers and toddlers, girls groups, boys groups, children aged 6 – 9 years old, over 50’s groups, a monthly lunch group in partnership with others, ESOL etc.

NEW CROSS HOSPITAL

The prime reason for the relocation of Saint Patrick’s Church to New Cross was the close proximity of the Hospital. The life of the Hospital would in many respects define and drive the pastoral work of the parish. For many years between 1972 and 1998 St Patrick’s enjoyed the presence of two priests in order to cater sufficiently for the pastoral and spiritual needs of the parish and the Hospital. Prior to 1972 a Catholic Chaplain would visit the Hospital from the nearby St Francis and St James Church in Wednesfield, once part of Our Lady’s parish, Cannock Road. Canon Woulfe acted as Chaplain for many years and would say an early Sunday morning Mass in the Hospital chapel.

From 1998 to 2004 two other parishes were involved in providing and organising Catholic Chaplaincy: Corpus Christi and Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. Alongside the priest chaplain there has been for many years Sister Mary Connell and a number of volunteer ward visitors. There has been a Marist brother and students on placement. Since 2004 Catholic Chaplaincy has been the responsibility of Saint Patrick’s with regular on-call cover support from SS Mary and John though Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and Corpus Christi help out. In the last year we have been blessed with the chaplaincy support of a Deacon, and two volunteer ward visitors, a parishioner and a staff member of the Hope family project and since September 2008 emergency on-call has been provided by five parishes.

Since August 2012 Catholic Chaplain at New Cross is Rev Fr Craig Fullard of St Joseph with regular on-call cover support from SS Mary and John, St Patrick and Our Lady of Perpetual Succour.