Harpenden, Hertfordshire

Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Harpenden, Hertfordshire

Following Catholic Emancipation, the Harpenden Mission was founded in 1905 as an extension from St. Albans. The first Mass in three centuries was said in the gymnasium at Vaughan Road and a temporary “little iron chapel” was then erected for services and dedicated to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

The first priest arrived in 1919, Father Benard Longstaff. Father Longstaff was a great fundraiser and campaigner and a Catholic parish was established in Harpenden in 1923. By 1923 it had become clear that the “little iron chapel” could no longer cope and in 1928 Cardinal Bourne laid the foundation stone for the new church, Our Lady of Lourdes, which was consecrated in 1936.

It is clear from the confident design and large size of the church that Catholicism was strong in Harpenden at that time and the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes is possibly more impressive than the ancient Parish Church of St. Nicholas that stands nearby.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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