Penzance Catholic Church 'The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady' - part of 'The Holy Family' Parish > "History section index" | sitemap
HISTORY OF THE RC PARISH of PENZANCE.
THE OBLATES OF MARY IMMACULATE
Father Young wanted to move on as soon as he could see the new mission was established in Penzance. When he met Father William Daly in Dublin, he saw an ideal way by entrusting the mission to the care of the Oblate Fathers, who were looking for a place to establish themselves in the British Isles, and open a novitiate for their order.
Father Daly arrived in Penzance in January 1843, with a young Brother Kelly to teach catechism. They rented a small house near the church in Vane Terrace. Mass was said in a wooden hut, as the church was not yet completed But the building work went on quickly and the nearly-completed church was brought into use. One highlight was the visit to Mount's Bay by an Italian ship; a special Mass was celebrated, the crew knew the music of the Mass by heart and Father Young preached. On 8th June 1843, with the permission of Bishop Baines, Father Young surrendered the whole property into Father Daly's possession for £299.1 9s.
On 26th October 1843, the solemn opening of the church was arranged and Father Young specially invited back. The Archbishop of Marseilles, Eugene de Mazenod, who was the superior of the Oblate Fathers, had come specially to England, the Mass was supported by the singing of choirs from Bristol and Bath, the harmonium borrowed from the Redemptorists at Falmouth and Father McDonnell of Torquay preached. There was a large crowd of priests from the order and from all parts of the west-country. And the church itself was crowded to capacity with predominantly people who were not Catholics.
A number of other Oblate Fathers came to join the mission, and their work progressed steadily. They also brought in some sisters of the Oblates of Notre Dame de l'Osier to teach in the school, which was then in the large, but very dark and low, vault underneath the church. The attractive services in the church brought in many of the local people. In 1852 alone there were 40 children baptised and a number of adults were converted. The Fathers extended their work beyond the town of Penzance. Mass Centres were opened in St. Just, at Helston where a Mr. and Mrs. Plomer gave them a room where the local Catholic people could gather, and at Camborne where a Capt. Pike was in a position as purser at the tin mines to find a loft over a stable for the priests to say Mass. The mission was progressing well.
But then it all came to an abrupt halt. Father Daly had begun to look further afield to the more Catholic and populous parts of the country. He found Ashbourne Hall in Derbyshire and wanted to purchase it. Without consulting his superiors, he entered into a mortgage contract with a Mr. John Fox of Ashbourne, for which he gave as collateral the whole of the Penzance church buildings and fittings. The inevitable happened and he was not able to keep up his payments. So, on Monday 27th September 1852, the church was advertised to be sold by public auction.
The Oblates did not stay long afterwards, but the Fathers and Sisters moved away to their other houses in October 1852.
created 29th October 2004 - last revised 3rd March, 2010 (code Jan 2016) v1.02 - ê¿ê