The Claretians from the United Kingdom and Ireland are concentrated in the following communities:
Buckden and St. Neots
The Claretian Community consists of:
Fr. Christopher Newman, cmf
Fr. Peter Wareing, cmf
Fr. Paul Peter A., cmf
Fr. Angel Ochagavia, cmf
For more information take a look at:
St Josephs Catholic Church
68 Grange Park Road
The Claretian Community consists of:
Fr. Krzysztof Stawicki, cmf
Fr. James Kennedy cmf
Fr. Philip Blandford cmf
For more information take a look at: www.joseph.claret.org.uk
Immaculate Heart of Mary
The Claretian Community consists of:
Fr. John O’Byrne cmf
Fr. Dominic McDonnagh, cmf
Fr. Bijoy Chandra Nayak, cmf
Fr. Antony Kennedy, cmf
Rev Michael Chima, cmf
Fr. Gerald Ezekwere, cmf
Fr. Paul Smyth, cmf
For more information take a look at: www.botwell.org.u
In Other Assignments
Fr. James Boothman, cmf – Helping the Brentwood Diocese
100 Claretian Years
In 2012, we celebrated the Centenary of the Arrival of the first Claretian Missionaries in the United Kingdom. During the last 100 years we have been working in several other places. Fr. Peter Wareing, cmf, recalls them.
1. Immaculate Heart of Mary, Hayes
– The community arrived in Hayes on April 21st 1912
– Purpose: to establish the Claretian Congregation in England through the establishment of a parish which was officially founded on October 6th 1912 and the services offered to Spanish speaking immigrants in the London area. The parish ministry continues as Claretian Missionaries continue to serve the different immigrant communities that pass through Hayes.
– Founded in 1926
– Claretians from Hayes had been doing supply work in the area for sometime. When asked to take on a parish it seemed only logical to do so.
– The house was closed and the parish handed over to the Jesuits to leave Claretians free for vocations and formation work in the north of England. This was in 1978.
3. Streetly, Birmingham
– This house was opened in 1950 for students for the priesthood who were to study at Oscott, the Birmingham diocesan seminary. The house in Streetly Wood was just 3 miles from Oscott. The first students were chosen from various Provinces of the Congregation: Italy, United States, Spain, Portugal and Germany. The house was closed in 1956(?) and the students were moved to Highcliffe.
4. Pembridge Villas, London
Pembridge Villas was opened about 1950. Its purpose was to provide accommodation for Claretians wishing to study in London. The Westminster diocese allowed this house to open on the strict condition that Claretians living there should not be involved in pastoral work in the area. It was closed after a few years.
5. Highcliffe Castle
Highcliffe Castle was bought by the Claretians in 1953. It was used at first as a novitiate and postulancy (junior seminary). When in 1956 we closed the house in Streetly (?), the students were transferred to Highcliffe, and there they remained until 1966 when the students were transferred to Radford (near Enstone, Oxfordshire). The purpose of this move was to allow our students to do their studies at the Jesuit Seminary at Heythrop. When the Jesuits decided to move Heythrop down to London in 1970, the small number of Claretian students remaining were housed in the parish house at Hayes. The house at Radford was returned to the diocese of Birmingham to whom it belonged.
Buckden Towers was left by a Mrs Edelston to the diocese of Northampton. The Bishop did not know what to do with it!! The estate comprised about 16 acres of land with a number of buildings of great historical interest but requiring a great deal of work and money to make them habitable. The first Claretians took over these buildings in 1956. In 1957 the young postulants were moved from Highcliffe Castle to Buckden Towers and formed the new Junior Seminary. It continued as such until 1965, by which time there were only a few young lads left and these were moved to Tollerton Hall, the Junior Seminary of the Nottingham diocese.
For a few years a certain amount of parish work was undertaken in the area, especially in the American Air bases at Chalveston, Alconbury and Molesworth. Then in 1969 the diocese of Northampton asked the Claretians to make Buckden Towers a parish under the title of St Hugh of Lincoln. The parish has grown in numbers and the Bishop of East Anglia asked the Claretians to take over the parish of St Neots as well. This we accepted and began parish work there in 2011.
7. Backwell Hill, Bristol
Backwell Hill House some seven miles from Bristol was bought to serve as a novitiate house in 1957 (?). For a short time the Streetly House had served this purpose, but it seems that it was considered inadequate for the numbers of novices entering. Very little pastoral work was undertaken in the area as the number of novices at the beginning was high. As we progressed through the sixties numbers fell and in 1968 or 1969 it was decided to sell the house.
8. Lambourne & Hungerford
Lambourne & Hungerford were 8 miles apart but formed one parish under the titles of Sacred Heart (Lambourn) and Our Lady (Hungerford). We were about to leave Highcliffe Castle when the Bishop of Portsmouth asked us to take over this parish in Berkshire. This we did in 1966 to remain there until 1982 (?).
9. Langley Park and Esh.
At the 1977 Provincial Chapter it was decided to hand over the Houghton parish to the diocese and to dedicate more time and energy to the problem of lack of vocations. It was for this reason we moved up north and founded a house of studies near Ushaw, the seminary of the northern dioceses of England. With the permission of the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, a house was opened within walking distance of Ushaw in 1978. For some years the priests of the community, in addition to formation work, helped in the pastoral work of the parish of Langley Park and Esh. In 1996 (?) the Bishop of the diocese asked us to take over the parish, which we did in 1996. We handed the parish back to the Bishop in 2002 (?).
10. Gorseinon and Pontarddulais.
The Claretians extended their apostolate into Wales in 1986 (?) when we took over the parish of Gorseinon and Pontarddulais, a town and a village about 6 miles apart, near Swansea. The new diocese of Menevia, under the leadership of a new Bishop, Joseph Mullins, had just been erected. The Claretians remained in charge of this parish until 2008.
The Claretians took over the parish of St Josephs, Leyton, Brentwood diocese, in 1997. It is a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual parish which certainly keeps the Claretians serving there, on their toes!! We hope to continue our pastoral work there for many years to come.
13. Guatemala and Belize
Last but far from least, we must mention our work on the foreign missions in Guatemala and Belize. When the Eastern Province of the United States opened their mission in Izabal, Guatemala, it seemed to us an ideal opportunity to extend our work in the same direction. The Eastern Province were very happy to have us working alongside them from 1970 onwards. The Anglo-Irish Province continued to supply personnel until 1996, when it was decided to move on to other work.
In 2002 the Province decided to work in Belize, very close to where we had worked in Guatemala. At this moment in time, we still have two missionaries working there.
14, St. Neots
The Bishop of East Anglia asked the Claretians to take over the parish of St Neots amalgamated with St. Hugh of Lincoln in Buckden. This we accepted and began parish work there in 2011.