'Catholic Herald' Staff Reporter
CROM his council-house presbytery, Fr. Francis Burgess, C.R.I.C., is planning-with only £100 in hand-to give Harlow New Town in Essex two church-halls, a school, a presbytery, a convent and a permanent church, which will cost well over £150,000.
It is suggested that Harlow may have the first. school in Britain dedicated to St. Pius X-the Pope of the Holy Eucharist, the Children's Pope, the Pope of Christian doctrine.
The church will, of course, be dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima"of course" because Fr. Burgess is the priest who, with his great devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, organises the pilgrimages through Essex in her honour.
Two to come
Harlow New Town will eventually have a trinity of churches in honour of Our Lady. One was built years ago by the Gilbey family before the town was planned. It stands on the eastern extremity of the new estate and is dedicated to the Immaculate Concept ion.
The second church to he built in the centre of the town at the junction of two main roads-will be dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, and the church hall on the west side will be dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
This will be one of the most compact parishes in the country. All together on the central site of about eight acres will be a church hallwhich will become a parish hall-the presbytery, the church, the school for 450 children with its playing pitches. and the convent.
The convent will be occupied by Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, from ChigweIl, who already have a small community in Harlow New Town, living in a council house, They will teach in the school.
Fr. Burgess estimates that his congregation will eventually number 1,500-a tenth of the new population when building is completed on the northern half of the town. (The southern half. where building has yet to begin, is expected to become two more parishes.)
With only that £100 in the bank, how does Fr. Burgess expect to raise all that money to get the plans translated into buildings?
The answer he gave me made one sentence : "There is Our Lady of Fatima, and there are those, all over the country and abroad, who have a special devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and will be delighted to raise a church to honour her."
Fr. Burgess and his assistant priest, Fr. Martin McCormack, both Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception, in their council house do their planning in a cramped space that reminds one of an "operations room" at a war-time R.A.F. station, with a flag-dotted chart, maps and business files.
There are, of course, casual differences in the room-an open breviary
on the centre table, a picture of Our Lady by the window . .
Between them every Sunday they say five Masses, in the Church of the Assumption in Old Harlow and in rented etsoms on the new territory.
They hope to start work on the church hall this month and have it ready by the end of the year. For this, £15,000 has been borrowed from a bank.
For the church the architect, Mr. Gerard Goalen, has drawn up plans for a building with three naves, walls of coloured glass to give a warm internal radiance and a strictly liturgical layout.
Plenty of activity
From the naves the congregation will face the central altar on three sides; choir, organ and Lady Chapel will be behind the altar.
A slender spire will rise high above the centre of the cross-shaped building, giving lofty aspiration to a design blending with the architectural spirit of the modern town.
Already the parish is full of activity and nearly 30 prospective converts are under instruction.
A Catholic men's association has been formed whose members promise to devote at least two hours a week to work of all kinds in the parish and to attend a weekly meeting for "briefing," reporting and prayer.
These men visit the homes of Catholics "inherited" from London parishes and take with them copies of a monthly news-letter with details of all church activities and a letter from Fr. Burgess.
Learning to sing
In the new church hall, Fr. Burgess will give a series of talks to nonCatholics whom the men bring along.
The women also have their own association, on somewhat different lines, to meet their special needs.
The two priests are training the parishioners to sing as a congregation. A number of men come to weekly practices to learn the music of the Liturgy, and then sing on Sundays, not as a choir but from the body of the church In the old part of the town.
Visiting of all Catholics in the area is vigorously and carefully organised, but the priests look to the men's association to play a full part with them in this work, including the solution of marriage problems.
Canon James Walton
Canon James Walton, who retired two years ago after 22 years as Rector of Our Lady of Victories Church in Kensington. London, has died in a Bristol nursing home.
Canon Walton was born in 1877, the son of a High Court judge, Mr. Justice Walton. From Stonyhurst College he went to the Scots College. Rome, where he was ordained in 1904.
He served at St. James's, Spanish Place, W., and, until the formation of the separate diocese of Brentwood, at Ilford. In 1915 he was appointed to St. Agnes's, Cricklewood, and in 1930 became Rector to Our Lady of Victories', which had been the proCathedral until Westminster Cathedral was built.
The Church of Our Lady of Victories was destroyed in the 1940 air raids and Canon Walton used furniture showrooms for Sunday Mass. Later he adapted a ball behind the ruins of the old church.
Fr. Gerald Landreth, S.J.
Fr. Gerald Landreth. who died last week in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, aged 50, was born in Stroud Green, London. and was educated at Mount St. Mary's College and at Oscott College before he entered the Society of Jesus in 1925.
He was ordained in 1935 and in 1937 was sent out to South Africa. From then until his death he was stationed at St. George's College, Salisbury, where he was engaged principally in teaching. In addition. he was also spiritual father to the boys from 194(1 to 1945.
In 1950 he was appointed vice-rector of St. George's College. After a short period as minister in 1951, he was again engaged in teaching from 1951 to 1954. Earlier this year he exchanged his duties in the classroom for those of minister.