Friday 1 July 2011

Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

I visited the Friars of the Immaculate at St Joseph's, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent in the Archdiocese of Birmingham yesterday. They have only been there for a couple of years but are reaching out to a community in a difficult area in a parish where many of the families have moved out as old housing has come down and where there is now a strong Muslim presence. Under the energetic care of Fr Agnellus Murphy a community of 7-9 Franciscans at any one time is engaged on an extensive and expensive restoration of the beautiful church, where the beauty of the liturgy is also of primary concern. The Friars offer both forms of the Roman Rite, with a daily Extraordinary Form Mass. They are very involved with the "A Day with Mary" apostolate.

St. Joseph's was designed by J. S. Brocklesby and built 1925-7. The style is Romanesque/Italianate and the medium is almost exclusively brick. At present, the tower and front are covered in scaffolding. In his novels, Arnold Bennett based his "Church of the Genuflections" on St. Joseph's. There is a "Friends of St Joseph's" helping to raise funds for the £160,000 first stage of the work that needs to be done, if there are any benefactors out there looking for someone to help!

With two of the Brothers on pilgrimage in Walsingham last month.

I've only come across the Friars before at St Mary Major in Rome and in the USA when visiting New Bedford, where they have a thriving community. You can read some more about them here, here and here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wish our parish church looked like that rather than a lutheran church.