We need to raise approximately £100,000 to upgrade our heating system at St Mary's Church - If you can help please contact us or Fr Martin.
History of our Parish
Our Parish is one of the oldest in the Diocese of Leeds. The Mass was said in Halifax throughout most of the Eighteenth Century in various rooms and meeting houses. Only after Catholic Emancipation in 1829, however, did it become possible to erect a more permanent place of worship for the Catholics of this district. Land was obtained opposite the old place of executions on Gibbet Lane and in 1834 the foundation stone of St Mary’s Church was laid by Fr Joseph Wright-Fairclough the first Parish Priest. Soon in 1846 schools were added to the complex of buildings by Fr John Rigby
In 1861 during a stormy night a great section of the church collapsed but was soon rebuilt. The parish was divided in the 1890s to create the new parish of St Bernard’s Boothtown which was named in honour of Fr Bernard Wake Parish Priest of St Mary’s who had worked hard to build up the Catholic community in that part of the town. St Mary’s in the meantime had become too small for the existing congregation and after the First World War a great project was undertaken by Canon John Foley to extend the Church to its present proportions. This project was completed by Dean Peter Russell who beautified the church with the addition of Italian marble altars
The church was consecrated in its centenary year of 1934 by Bishop Cowgill of Leeds. The growing Catholic population however necessitated further splitting of the parish and in 1934 St Columba’s Church was built and set up as a separate parish in the Pellon District of Halifax. Finally in 1954 St Alban’s Church in Huddersfield Road was opened and Fr Edward Quinn was installed as first Parish Priest two years later. In 2005 Bishop Roche decided that the needs of the area could best be served by reintegrating St Alban’s Parish into its mother parish of St Mary’s which left the parish as it is today.
Parish Priests of St Mary’s 1834 – Present
Fr Joseph Wright-Fairclough 1834-1840
Parish Priests of St Alban’s Halifax 1956 – 2005
Fr Edward Quinn 1956-1959
Priests Born Baptised or Educated in the Parish
Fr Leo Lawless