Catholics celebrate 175th anniversary of Kenilworth church

Altar servers with the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham (third from right), Fr. Kevin Hooper, Parish Priest (far left), Deacon David Palmer  (fourth from right) and Fr. David Bazen, Priest in Residence (second from right) with concelebrating priests of the local Deanery following the Mass
Altar servers with the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham (third from right), Fr. Kevin Hooper, Parish Priest (far left), Deacon David Palmer (fourth from right) and Fr. David Bazen, Priest in Residence (second from right) with concelebrating priests of the local Deanery following the Mass
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Catholics of Kenilworth came together last weekend to celebrate the 175th anniversary of one of the town’s smallest churches.

The congregation of St Augustine’s Church in Hollis Lane, often referred to as St Austin’s, along with guests including the Archbishop of Birmingham the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, celebrated the milestone on Saturday June 3.

Around 175 turned up to the church, which usually holds 110, on the day for a special Mass followed by a lunch in its grounds.

The church was the first Catholic church to be built in Kenilworth since the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century, and is also believed to be one of the smallest designed by renowned British architect Augustus Pugin.

The parish priest of Kenilworth Father Kevin Hooper made reference to the church’s place in architectural history after the anniversary.

He said: “The sun shone on our Pugin ‘gem’ of St. Austin’s Catholic Church on Saturday.

“After months of planning by a dedicated group of parishioners, Pugin’s gem sparkled with the beauty of worship, song and flowers.”

Peter Rand, chairman of the organising committee for St Francis Parish, said: “It was an amazing day, and I think it was very significant because 175 years ago, Catholicism came back to Kenilworth.”