Catholic church announces two places of worship are set to close in town

Our Lady of the Rosary is one of two set to close
Our Lady of the Rosary is one of two set to close

The Catholic church in the borough has suffered a blow after it was announced two places of worship in a town are to shut.

Final masses have been announced for Twelve Apostles Church and Our Lady of the Rosary Church later this month in Leigh.

The two buildings are to close their doors for good, with the Archdiocese of Liverpool saying it was a difficult decision to make.

A statement read: “Following extensive consultation, the churches of Our Lady of the Rosary and Twelve Apostles, within the parish of St Edmund Arrowsmith, Leigh are to close at the end of August 2019.

“For over 15 years we have been discussing how to best to meet the pastoral needs of Catholics in the different parts of Leigh.

“This led to the creation of two new parishes: St Edmund Arrowsmith and St Margaret Clitherow in 2011.

“A recent decision has been made that there will be three priests to serve these two parishes, in order for that to happen two of the seven churches will be closed.

“Such decisions are never easy as churches are not just building but places of sacred memory.

“These memories will be taken with the people to new places of worship.

“This will give us the opportunity to be bold and creative in our pastoral planning and in carrying out the mission of the church.”

The final services will be on Thursday August 29 for Our Lady’s, which is on Plank Lane, and Friday 30 for Twelve Apostles on Nel Pan Lane. Both masses will begin at 7pm and will be led by Bishop Tom Williams, the auxiliary bishop of Liverpool.

Twelve Apostles was built in 1929 and the building, which is red brick with a slate roof, has a rose window and a wood-framed and covered corridor linking the church and parish house, thought to date back to the early 1900s.

Our Lady of the Rosary was built in the late 1930s and is a tall building designed in a somewhat austere style.

The two churches have shared a priest since 1995.

Borough churches have been struggling to keep their doors open in recent years, with dwindling congregations and a shortage of clergy often given as reasons.

The Archdiocese of Liverpool announced the closure of St Edward’s Church in Newtown and St William’s in Ince in 2017, while parishioners at St Patrick’s in Scholes had to fight to keep the church open.

Other denominations have been affected too, with a baptist chapel in Golborne being auctioned earlier this year.