The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian

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This article was originally published in the Parish Magazine, and is reprinted here by kind permission of Bill Hopkins

I first moved into what was to become St Theresa's Parish together with my family at the age of seven in 1927 Cross Gates at that time was a village surrounded by very large areas of farmland and open countryside. The Leeds City Council had built what was to be the first of many new houses on the Bridlepath , the Pooles and Orchard Areas.This development was intended to offer housing to the returned members of the services from the first World War.

In those days Mass was said each Sunday and Holy Day by the priests of St Patricks parish in the chapel of Killingbeck cemetery.

Together with other catholic children in the area I attended the Cross Gates Council School until St Theresa's School was built in 1930.

The Nuns from St Patrick's gave religious instruction to those of us who were attending the local council school each Sunday after Mass.

There was a very enthusiastic young musician by the name of Willie Ryan who played the harmonium in the chapel; he very soon formed a boys' choir. There was a choir practice every Tuesday evening in the chapel, attending during the summer months was not too bad, but attendance on dark winter evenings was a little daunting. Non-the-less we kept up the attendance and managed to master the sung plain chant Mass, the Latin Benediction hymns, the 0 Salutaris , the Tantum Ergo and the Adoremus. We also Learnt many motets including the Jubilto Deo , 0 Sacrum Convivium and the Inclina Ad Me. We also Learned every verse in Latin of the Lenten Hymn Stabat Mater Dolarosa.

At That time the Cemetery Chapel did not have electricity installed, the chapel was illuminated by oil lamps for the evening Choir practices and the midnight masses at Christmas. Willie had quite an accomplished choir by the time we moved to the newly built St Theresa's School Chapel in 1930.

Early in 1930 the parish of St Theresa Was formed with Fr Patrick O'Halloren as the first parish priest. His first Presbytery was at No 152 Austhorpe Road. Sunday Mass was continued to be said in the Cemetery chapel with the addition of Mass being said in the Station Hotel on Station Road until the School I Chapel was opened in September 1930. Sunday and Holy day masses were continued to be said in the Killingbeck Cemetery Chapel into the late 1940s.

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Published Sat 11th Oct 2003 13:27:42

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