July was a landmark month for St Jude’s parish in Wigan which marked its 50th anniversary with a weekend of celebrations.
The main celebration took place on Sunday 12 July with a special evening Mass led by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon. Three former parish priests joined Archbishop Malcolm and Canon Pat McNally, the current incumbent, in concelebrating the 6.30pm Mass, which was followed by a buffet in the parish centre. The previous day St Jude’s primary school had staged a summer fair, ensuring – as Canon McNally explained – that "parents and staff and parishioners were all involved" in a memorable weekend.
Canon McNally, who has been parish priest for 26 years, added that St Jude’s had reached its half-century in fine health, citing its flourishing "collaborative ministry". "This has been hugely successful," he said, "with teams of tutors, catechists, SVP, Legion of Mary and Eucharistic ministers heavily involved. A good barometer of any parish organisation is how it cares for the marginalised, the needy, the lonely, and our volunteers do Trojan work." He also pointed to the parish's active participation in ecumenical events in Wigan.
St Jude’s was built in response to post-war housing developments, with Catholic families leaving St Joseph’s parish in the Wallgate area for new council estates to the south-west of the town centre. After the construction of a temporary chapel of ease in 1959, the new church was erected at a cost of £100,000 and opened by Archbishop Beck on 13 July 1965, with the presbytery and parish centre following two years later. In 1995 St Joseph’s parish was closed and absorbed into St Jude’s.