After a period of consultation with the parishioners of St Gianna Beretta Molla, Leeds and Christ the King, Leeds, and in consultation with the Council of Priests, Bishop Marcus has canonically amalgamated the two parishes to form the new Parish of Christ the King and Holy Family. This will take effect from 2 April 2023, Palm Sunday.
The parish church of the new parish will be Christ the King, at Bramley and the church of Holy Family in Armley will be a chapel-of-ease. The Parish Priest, Fr Neil Byrne, will reside in the presbytery at Christ the King. The former presbytery at Holy Family is now leased by St Monica’s Housing Trust, which provides accommodation for destitute people seeking asylum in the UK.
In accordance with the prescriptions of Canon Law a new parish pastoral council and finance committee will be constituted and as far as possible, the membership of these bodies will be equitably representative of the new parish structure, with parishioners from both former parishes involved in both bodies.
The new parish also includes two primary schools – Christ the King in Bramley and Holy Family in Armley.
The modern history of the Church in West Leeds begins in 1864 when a Mass Cantre was established at New Wortley, served from St Anne’s Cathedral. A resident priest was appointed in 1868 and a school-chapel, dedicated to the Holy Family, opened in 1872. The present church in Green Lane dates from 1895 and is now the only nineteenth century Catholic Church in the city of Leeds that is still in use.
In 1928 the Bramley and Stanningley areas became a separate parish, with the opening of the church of Christ the King. In 1970 the parish of Holy Spirit at Stanningley was created. In 2011 the parish church was closed, and the area was reincorporated into Christ the King parish.
St Wilfrid’s parish at Farnley was established by Bishop Dwyer in 1960. One of the former parish priests is Cardinal Arthur Roche, who served at St Wilfrid’s from 1989-91.
In 2014 the parishes of Holy Family and St Wilfrid came together to form the parish of St Gianna Beretta Molla. Since 2018 St Wilfrid’s Church has served as the home of the Syro-Malabar chaplaincy in the diocese.
Fr Byrne, who was appointed to Christ the King and St Gianna Beretta Molla parishes in 2019, has thanked Bishop Marcus for agreeing to the amalgamation and thanked his parishioners for their support and understanding. At the same time, he asked for their continued support and co-operation with each other as, together, they ‘move forward as a one Parish’.