Parish History

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The Church of St Thomas More Wollaton

 

Wollaton, a village to the west of Nottingham, was brought into the City boundaries in 1933 thus increasing the area available for housing, both private and public. With this development the number of Catholics in the area increased. At this time Catholics attended mass at St Paul’s Lenton 2 miles away nearer the centre of the city.

In 1941 the Sunday bus service from Wollaton to Nottingham was suspended because of the need to conserve fuel for the war effort. As a result several elderly and infirm parishioners could not attend mass. In view of this, the parish priest of St Paul’s having been approached by his parishioners in Wollaton agreed to say mass in the local Church of England School at 9.00am on Sundays and the idea of the parish was born! Eventually a plot of land was purchased in the area and in 1955 the building of a Chapel of Ease began. The Parish Priest of St. Paul’s at this time was Canon Robert Thornhill. The Church was completed in 1956 by which time Canon Thornhill had been replaced by Mgr Eric Graser (later Bishop of Shrewsbury). The Church was named St. Thomas More and was designed as a dual purpose building with a sliding partition between the sanctuary and main body of the building to enable it to be used for Social events as well as liturgical ones.

In 1967 with support from the parish priest of St Paul’s a committee was formed to prepare the ground for St. Thomas More to become a parish in its own right. This was eventually achieved in August 1971 when Fr Gerard McSpirit was appointed. Fr McSpirit oversaw the construction of the presbytery and remained until November 1977 when Fr Geoffrey Kitchen replaced him. However in 1986 because of the need for priests in larger parishes he was moved and the parish was then served by the University Chaplain Fr Bernard Brady who combined the two roles. The happy association of the parish with the University Chaplaincy continued when Fr Brady was replaced by Fr Philip O’Dowd in 1992 and was finally ended in 2003.

From then on St Thomas More has not had a resident Parish Priest living in the presbytery. Between 2003 to 2006 the parish was linked once more with St. Paul’s Lenton and St. Mary’s Hyson Green and Fr Steven Foster was Parish Priest. In 2006 to 2013 it was linked with The Assumption Beeston and Fr Kevin Clark served as our Parish Priest until he was replaced by Fr Ephraim Nwachukwu. Fr Ephraim served as Priest in Charge for four years to 2012 when he was replaced by Canon Ka Fai Lee whom was appointed parochial Administrator. Therefore over the last 10 years the community has experienced a lot of change with regard to its priestly care, having had 6 priests serving it in one capcity or another.

It was with much joy that on 1 January 2013 we welcomed Fr Robbie O’Callaghan as our new Parish Priest. However, following a review by the Bishop it was decided to restore the Parish’s original link with St Paul’s. As a result, from 1 September 2013 Fr David Palmer has taken on responsibility for St Thomas More along with the Parish of St Paul’s Lenton and St Mary’s Hyson Green. Following a further review of the workloads of the priests responsible for the pastoral care of the the various parishes on the Nottingham/Derby border, Canon Ka Fai Lee Parish Priest of St Hugh’s, Borrowash took on the role of Parochial Administrator of St Thomas More from 1 October 2014. We welcome him to our community and pray that his period of time with us will be both joyous and fruitful.