Centenary
of
Our Lady
Immaculate
Whitstable

 


Bishop Peter
Emmanuel Amigo

circa 1910


 

Archbishop Kevin leads centenary celebrations

The Church of Our Lady Immaculate at Whitstable was consecrated by Bishop Peter Amigo on 3rd September 1908. To mark the centenary, Archbishop Kevin visited the parish to offer Mass on 3rd September 2008.


Our Lady Immaculate, Whitstable

 

Some historical notes ...

List of rectors and parish priests:

George Fanning 1906-1913 (Church consecrated in 1908)
Thomas Ryan 1913-1918
Francis Cassells 1918-1949 (Erected as parish in 1944)
John O’Friel 1950-1954
Basil Harvey 1954-1974
Dennis Barry 1974-1979
Kevin St. Aubyn 1979-

 

A letter was sent to Bishop Butt on December 28th 1893 as the Passionist Fathers were not able to send a priest to Whitstable: “I had made every provision for Mass here on Christmas Day but at the last moment we were disappointed. It is many months since Mass was said in Whitstable a great hardship for the poor people here. There are between 30 and 40 Catholics here including children. I therefore appeal to you on behalf of the Catholics in Whitstable to send us a priest to say Mass once a month. I will undertake to provide a room for Mass and give the priest Hospitality from Saturday to Monday.”

Fr Basil from Herne Bay wrote a letter to Bishop Butt dated 1st February 1894 in which he said: “I will attend to the few Catholics at Whitstable and say Mass about once a month and more frequently if necessary.”

The start of the Mission given in the Southwark Catholic Directory as 1900 but was obviously earlier.

The Sisters of Mercy arranged for a permanent church to be built. In 1898 two pieces of land were bought in Northwood Road and Church Street, Whitstable.

On September 3rd 1906 Fr George Fanning, then at Uckfield, wrote to the Bishop accepting the Mission of Whitstable without a house to live in.

The church opened in 1906 and was given to the parish by the Sisters of Mercy in December 1906.

The high altar and church were consecrated by Bishop Peter Amigo on  3rd September 1908.  In his visitation report in 1924 he wrote: "The Feast of the dedication has to be kept on September 3rd with an Octave."

In the 1921 Visitation Report Bishop Peter Amigo remarked that it was not a parish as the income was too small and there was no house. There were now three schools, St. Vincent’s, St. Joseph’s Elementary and St. Mary’s. The Bishop observed that “people prefer to give stained glass windows to giving for the support of the Mission, and though I was very pleased to see these windows I myself wish above all to see your Mission self supporting and erected into a parish.”

In 1944 Archbishop Peter Amigo made the Mission a canonically erected parish.

In 1964 the new church of St Joseph at Chestfield was blessed by Fr Basil Harvey the parish priest.

In 1986 the Southwark Catholic Youth Service moved to Castle Road, Whitstable.