ST. ALEXANDER'S CATHOLIC CHAPEL
LAYING THE FOUNDATION STONE
BISHOP GOSS ON LORD DERBY,
DEMOCRATIC TEACHING, AND SUNDAY RECREATION
 
  Yesterday, the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of St.Alexander's Roman Catholic Chapel, to be erected at Miller's Bridge, was performed by the Catholic Bishop if Liverpool, the Right Rev Dr Goss, in the presence of a large concourse of spectators.
   The building, which will be situate near the Miller's Bridge railway station, will be of the composite style of architecture, 103 feet in length and 46 feet in width; the aisles, around which there will be several bas reliefs, being 9 feet 2 inches and the nave 24 feet 2 inches wide. The building, which will furnish sitting accommodation for 1500 persons, will be erected at an estimated cost of about 4000. The architect is Mr W Pugin.
   The bishop was assisted in the service by the following clergy: - Revs Canon Fisher, DD, of St Edward's College; Canon James Fisher, of Great Crosby, both of whom chanted the litany; Canon Wallwork, Canon O'Reilly, and the Revs T Kelly, Hickey, McGrath (the cross-bearer), S Walsh, and the students of St Edward's College.
   After the service the Bishop addressed the assembly. He said they lived in portentous times. They had seen kings and rulers driven from their thrones, and throughout England there were an upheaving and a commotion; for, on the one hand, there were men who deride and scoff at and reject all dogmatic teaching, whilst, on the other, there were many who, though groping their way in the gloom of error, yet at the same time were aspiring after truth; and though groping their way in the gloom of error, yet at the same time were aspiring after truth; and though they had not the spirit, they were anxious piece-meal to build up the body like unto that corpse left by the Reformation after it had been eviscerated of the spirit of Catholicity. There were men calling themselves ministers of religion who had been lifted up, many of them, from comparatively humble positions in life, who had no standing place, who had no honour, no glory, except that which they were supposed to derive as the ministers of Christ; and yet, strange to say, they were ashamed of the very cross through which only they derived their power. Only a short time since the Catholics were refused that aid which the state generously gave for the erection of a cross, because they were Christian men who scrupled to erect the banner of the cross, in which was the only hope. What was man under the hoof of the devil if it had not been that the Saviour poured out his blood upon the cross, and thus lifted him up and bid him rejoice? Therefore it was the Catholics bore about them the cross, and honoured and adored it. And yet there were men calling themselves ministers of the gospel who scouted the notion of proclaiming the triumph of the cross. Having referred to several passages in the writings of St Paul in which her speaks of "Christ crucified," and the death on the cross, the bishop contended that the apostle meant that they should honour, and love, and teach the cross of Christ. The bishop then referred to a number of extracts from the teachings of various fathers of the church. He said he had read them, not that they required to be taught that the cross must be honoured, but in order to show that the practice of modern days took its origin from the apostles of Christ, and it was continued down to the present time. He has no doubt that, coming out from their secret lurking places, from the slums of literature, the would have in some obscure corner of the Mercury - once liberal, but now so no more - they would find in the Mercury sneers and jeers at their worshipping the cross and at their adoring the cross, as if they had not an antiquity of 1800 years to stand upon. He did not think they could be assembled on that ground without returning their thanks to that generous nobleman who had allowed them to have the land for the chapel on favoured conditions - thus showing a degree of liberality, and that he was thereby entitled to their gratitude. It was one of the very best securities for the liberty and prosperity of the country that they had noblemen who were the possessors of such unbounded wealth. They were allied with wealth, and they had an interest in the country. His hearers could have no sympathy with those men, whatever might be their politics, who went round the country and endeavoured to set class against class. Their strength lay in union. Those were not friends of the people who endeavoured to go about sowing disunion between classes. The bishop said the English Government was called a kingly government, but it was of the most republican kind. All had their due voice in the constitution. Was it reasonable that a man who had no property, on other stake in the country, but his tools, should have the same interest, the same power in the government of his fellow men as a nobleman who owned thousands of acres, dwelling on the land which he owned? He said shame that men should go round the country, whatever be their politics, endeavouring to sow disunion between the various classes of the country. But Lord Derby had a closer interest with his hearers than being at the head of her Majesty's Government. Let them remember he was no politician, and therefore he spoke totally irrespective of politics. He (the bishop) never strove to interfere with any man's vote. He exercised his conscience in giving his own vote if he chose to give it, though for the last 20 years he had never voted but once; and he did not consider a Catholic less his spiritual child if in the exercise of his vote he differed from him (the bishop). Therefore his words had no reference whatever to any shade of politics, and he would not have spoken the same had Lord Derby not been at the head of her Majesty's Government. It was a fact, although not generally known, that the great Earl of Derby, who was executed at Bolton, one of the most loyal and chivalrous of the House of Stanley, died a Catholic, having been converted to the faith on the scaffold. Having referred to some information which he had obtained in reference to James Earl of Derby, from one of the "Annual Letters," the bishop said he was aware that there was a speech of the earl, who therein said that he died in the faith of his master Charles, but it must be remembered that that speech was written on the eve of his execution, before he had any intercourse with the Catholic priest, and he gave his speech as he written it to one of his attendants. Referring next to the subject of recreation on Sunday, the bishop said he thought they had long ago disposed of it; but he found that at the Church Congress at York the Bishop of Ripon had been proclaiming that the Sunday was the Sabbath, and desired to bring to the Sunday the observance of the Jewish Sabbath. The Bishop of Ripon contended that it made no difference whether it was the last day or the first day which was sanctified. But they knew that this was merely imagination, and that God commanded the seventh day should be kept holy in the Old Law. Dr Goss then referred to several passages in the Old Testament which spoke on the seventh day, and the various modes in which it was computed, and put it that, according to the Jewish method, the obligation was to keep the seventh day, which was not Sunday, but Saturday. God was precise as to the day to be kept, and the manner of keeping it: but there no sacrifice, no prayer; it was a holy day in our sense of the word. If, then, they were to be bound by the Jewish Sabbath, let it be kept by those who advocated it in its entirety. But the Christian Sabbath was established to be a time of thanksgiving to God, because on that day Jesus Christ rose from the dead. It had, therefore, an entirely different object. It was not simply a day of rest, but with us it was a day of thanksgiving unto God. We sanctify it by abstaining from servile work, but did not make it a day of gloom, that being forbidden. There was no reason whatever, when the people had performed their religious duties, why they should not spend the remainder of the day in wholesome recreation, and he now repeated what he had said before, that he would like to see them playing at the various games which were customary amongst our countrymen, such as football and similar sports. The Protestant mode of keeping the Sabbath was not Protestant, but Puritanical. He found also that James published a declaration expressing his desire that after divine service the people should not be "disturbed, letted, or discouraged from any lawful recreation," such as dancing, archery, leaping, vaulting, or any other recreation, so that the same should be at any convenient time without neglect of divine service. But he found a few years later the Puritan spirit had become so strong, that, when the Bishop of Lincoln had a private theatrical performance in his house on a Sunday, the Puritans got one of the actors condemned to the stocks. Nevertheless, Charles I renewed the proclamation of his father James, and declared that the people must have the same privileges and liberties which James had granted in reference to their games. Now, these were instances of what had been done by the ruling authority in the Protestant church. He hoped, therefore, that from the Bishop of Ripon, or any other bishop, they would not hear anything about Sabbattarianism, but that the people would be allowed to enjoy their recreation instead of resorting go the public house and wasting their powers of body and mind. On the last occasion be addressed them he spoke of education, and he vindicated for the Catholic church a continuance of that education which they still enjoyed. He then referred to an article in the Pall-mall Gazette with which, he said, he did not agree, because he considered that those who attended grammar schools were the children of parents who respected themselves and their families; and although the children did not learn the religious principles at the grammar school, they learned them at home and were sent to a place of worship to acquire them. After referring to the fact of the Irish bishops petitioning Parliament for an assimilation of the law of the two countries, and to the wish of the Irish for a law as to tenant right, he called attention to the articles in the Times on those questions, and said there was no justice to be expected from men who blew hot and cold with the same mouth, as it suited their convenience. He urged that they should object in the strongest terms to compulsory education. Having referred to the conclusions usually drawn from the reports of gaol chaplains, he expressed himself satisfied that crime and ignorance were not necessarily associated. At the same time they must not suppose that he undervalued education, because to it he owed everything he was and everything he possessed. It was a pity that some comprehensive system was not devised by which, instead of being shut up in our reformatories, the children could not be sent out to the colonies. Why could not the Great Eastern be chartered for that purpose? He then urged them to stand firm to the denominational system of education which now prevailed amongst them; although at the same time he though that no one could complain of the conscience clause, which was a just and salutary law. In conclusion, the bishop referred to the church the foundation stone of which he had laid, and said, with respect to the funds for its erection, that in the year 1862 there was collected at the north end of the town and entrusted to him the sum of 58. (Laughter.) In 1863 251 was collected; in 1864, 152 12s 6d; 1865, 94 15s; and from the beginning of the present year until September 17, 101 11s 7d. They had in addition the proceeds of the bazaar, amounting to 639 6s 7d, so that up to the present date the total amount raised by the north end, where there had been for years nothing done, where the people were always in work, was only 1297 5s 8d. He urged them to do something more that day, and to contribute liberally towards the collection on behalf of the chapel. the bishop briefly referred to the sanitary condition of the town, and said the authorities were alive to the subject, and exhorted those around him to second their efforts.
A collection was then made in aid of the chapel fund, 20 guineas being contributed by "Kelly the Butterman."
 

Liverpool Mercury   22nd October 1866

     
 OPENING OF ST. ALEXANDER'S CHAPEL
 
Yesterday morning, the new Roman Catholic Chapel of St Alexander, at Miller's Bridge, Bootle, was opened by the Bishop of Liverpool (Dr Goss), in the presence of a large congregation, when solemn high mass was celebrated. The chapel is intended for those who have hitherto worshipped in a temporary room in the neighbourhood. It has been erected according to a design furnished by Mr A W Pugin, architect, and provides seat-room for 500 persons. It is built in the gothic style of the 13th century, and has a tower 80 feet high (containing a bell), and a vestry. The edifice is a parallelogram, divided into nave and aisles, the former terminating in an apsidal end. The extreme length of the building is 108 feet by 50 feet in width, and is 53 feet high. The building is extremely simple in outline; what is required is, however, thoroughly well carried out, and the effect is to give the tout ensemble a thorough appearance of genuineness. Externally, the church is built with Longridge stone dressings, with Yorkshire papoints. The arrangement of the west end is one of considerable beauty. In the centre is a niche containing figures of St Alexander, the patron saint of the church, and of the bishop of the diocese. On either side are two deeply recessed and shafted windows, and above is a rose window enriched with nine heads, representing various saints. This may be considered the most beautiful feature of the building. The western door is also worthy of remark. Instead of the usual shaft, which generally is not higher than one's shoulder, and which in a few years, together with its ornamentation, becomes an eyesore, it is perfectly plain, but from the haunch rise richly moulded ribs, which look all the more striking from their contiguity to the simple jamb. The interior of the church presents a fine open effect, and possesses a thoroughly ecclesiastical character, which can only be obtained by the introduction and frequent use of the arch. The apse terminates in three very beautiful windows, which are shafted and carved. but the great distinguishing feature of this church is the roofs and ceilings, which are entirely of timer, decorated with rich patterns in white, black, and gold. the contractor for the building was Mr Glaister, of Liverpool, the wood-work fittings being executed by Mr Hughes, of Bootle. Exclusive of the expense of fittings, the cost of the chapel has been about 5000.
At the service yesterday Mozart's mass No 12 was performed with orchestral accompaniments. The bishop was attended by Canon O'Reilly and Canon Fisher. Mass was sung by the Very Rev Dr Fisher; deacon the Rev Peter Vanhee, and sub-deacon the Rev Austin Powell; the master of the ceremonies being the Rev G O'Reilly. The musical portion of the service was conducted by Mr Joseph Cafferata, the principal vocalists including Miss Fanny Bennett and the Rev John Hawksworth. A sermon was preached by the Rev Father Arthur Bertrand Wilberforce, O P (nephew of the Bishop of Oxford), from the following text - "And the Lord God said to the serpent, Because thou hast done this thing thou art cursed amongst all cattle and beasts of the earth; upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." A collection was made on behalf of the fund for the erection of the chapel.
 

Liverpool Mercury   9th December 1867

 
 BLESSING THE BELL OF ST. ALEXANDER'S CHAPEL
ADDRESS BY BISHOP GOSS
 
Yesterday afternoon, the ceremony of consecrating the bell of St Alexander's Roman Catholic Chapel, which is being erected at Miller's Bridge, Bootle, was performed by the Catholic Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev Dr Goss, in the presence of a large congregation. The bell weighs 10 cwt 4 lbs. It has been manufactured by Messrs Mears and Stainbank, of London, at a cost of upwards of 71. The following clergymen assisted at the ceremony:- The Very Revs Canon J H Fisher, Canon O'Reilly, Canon J Fisher: and the Revs R Seed, A Powell, and E Powell.
At the close of the ceremony the bishop preached a sermon. In the course of his remarks he said that there was a class of men who had the bitterness of dragons in their hearts; they professed to be liberal, wished to see every man free, and to treat men as brothers, but they loved to oppress their neighbours. He regretted to say that in Liverpool, which boasts its liberality, there were men in honour and place who could not rise above the narrow bigotry of the last few centuries, and had refused to do the Catholics justice. The Catholics asked for the poor to be instructed. The men to whom he had referred replied that there must be those amongst the Catholics who could pay for the instruction of the poor. Now, the Catholics paid to the common taxes, and he trusted they would not cease agitating in regard to this matter. The men of whom he had spoken said the Catholics were free, and yet he asked his hearers to look at the way in which the Catholics were met when the latter came to ask, as was their right, that a Catholic priest might be appointed to minister to the 2000 poor of the Catholic persuasion in the Liverpool workhouse. The poor in the workhouse, though they might be well taken care of, as he believed they were, deserve from the circumstances in which they were placed that a liberal humanity should at the same time provide them with what was necessary for their immortal souls. He urged that the services of a Roman Catholic priest for the workhouse poor could not be obtained without paying a priest, although he protested that the Catholic clergy did not desire riches, but only a living; and that it was the duty of the select vestry, or others who had the care of such matters, to make provision for the spiritual wants of the Catholic paupers in the way he had suggested. The Catholic children, about 600, in the industrial schools should also enjoy the ministration of a priest of their persuasion. He knew there was a priest who ministered to the paupers, but he was not paid. The men to whom he referred entertained doubts as to whether they had the legal power to remunerate priests under those circumstances; but he only hoped that in all other public matters they were as careful to avoid infringing the law as they were with respect to this question. Whilst disclaiming the character of an agitator, and remarking that he cared not what the political opinions of his people might be, be recommended them, in regard to the matter to which he had referred, to agitate and secure for the Catholic paupers the advantage of spiritual ministrations by a paid priest which even the criminals enjoyed. The bishop also adverted to Murphy, the lecturer, whom he said he believed to be an apostate who, by the abuse to which he resorted and carrying a revolver in his pocket tried to make up for his lack of brains. Murphy had spoken of Bishop Goss and his myrmidons, and he had defied them; but he (Dr Goss) was a man of peace, and had directed his people not to give this man the opportunity he sought. The bishop also spoke of Murphy being obliged to obtain a chairman for his meeting from Birkenhead, the inhabitants of which began dock works and left them to be completed by the people of Liverpool. He referred to a remark by Murphy as to Bishop Goss and the coalheavers of Liverpool, and expressed his (the bishop's) confidence in the "coalheavers." Speaking of trades' unionism, and whilst admitting the workman's right to sell his labour for the highest price, he denounced any attempts on the part of workmen to force and oppress others. He urged the necessity of sobriety and industry as a means of progress in life.
At the conclusion of the service a collection was made on behalf of the fund for the erection of the chapel.
 

Liverpool Mercury   16th September 1867

 BLESSING A BELL
 
Yesterday afternoon, the members of St Alexander's Roman Catholic Church, Miller's Bridge, Bootle, assembled in that edifice to witness the ceremony of blessing a bell which is to be hung in the belfry of the church. The bell weighs 13 cwt 15 lbs, and was cast by Messrs Mears and Stainbank, of london. bishop Goss preformed the ceremony, being assisted by the Revs Canon O'Reilly, Dr fisher, Canon James Fisher, Peter Van Hee, and the Rev Edward Powell, pastor of the church, who was master of the ceremonies. - After the service, Bishop Goss addressed the congregation. He said they had witnesses what to every catholic was a very solemn rite, because they had used in the consecration of the bell a ceremony next to the blessed sacrament, a ceremony which they considered most holy. They had used the holy oil of the sick, which was for anointing those who were expecting death. They had used also the holy chrism, which the church employed for the administration of the sacrament of confirmation, and they had derived from the ancient Jewish church, and which were composed by the ancient prophet, who was himself a type of the Messiah. At the same time they had used the ancient prayers of the church which had come down unto them from high antiquity, and were used thousands of years ago in the solemn service throughout this land whenever a bishop was called upon to consecrate a church, or bless a bell, or perform any of those other rites which belonged unto the bishop to perform. They had no new rites, no prayers which were inspired for the moment by the genius of the man, but they had rites and prayers which had come down to them from ancient times, and could any bishop be summoned up now from the grave he would be able to take a part in them. But if they summoned one of the dignitaries of what was called the reformed church he would neither understand the meaning of holy oil or the holy chrism. They consecrated the ground in which they the bodies of the dead were laid; but he had been told that one was called from his home in Manchester (the so-called bishop of that place) to consecrate a cemetery. He opened his mouth in condemnation of the ancient church from which he derived, not his powers, but his revenues. In consecrating the cemetery he had satisfied himself by standing at the door of the lodge and looking over the cemetery because the snow was falling, and after he had signed the deed saying that he had done all in his power. The reverend gentleman then went on to show the usefulness of the church ceremonies, the power of prayer, and in conclusion exhorted his hearers to attend the church as frequently as possible. He pointed out how consecration was used even in the reformed church, and the existence of the custom of blessing bells in ancient times. At the conclusion of the address a collection was made.
 

Liverpool Mercury   9th March 1868

     
MONSIGNOR CAPEL AT BOOTLE
 
On Saturday afternoon, the Right Rev Monsignor Capel laid the primary stone of a presbytery in connection with St Alexander's Catholic Church, Bootle. The building, which is in course of erection close to the church is intended as a residence for the rector (the Rev Father Powell) and the other priests (Fathers Snow and Harrington). It is to be in the Gothic style of architecture, to correspond with the church, and will cost about 2500, towards which 600 has already been obtained. The designs were prepared by the late Mr E Welby Pugin; and the general contractor for the work is Mr Edward Hughes, Bootle. Prior to the ceremony of laying the stone, Monsignor Capel was presented with a silver trowel, bearing a suitable inscription. shortly after four o'clock, Monsignor Capel, robed, and attended by the priests of the mission and a procession of acolytes, &c, walked from the church to the site of the new building. The brief office for the consecration of the stone was then gone through by Monsignor Capel, assisted by Father Powell, after which Monsignor Capel laid the stone. Subsequently, the monsignor addressed the assembled people. He reminded them that they had built the church and the schools, and said that now they were building a house where the priests were to receive shelter. As the church was the poor man's home, so the presbytery might be called the poor man's friends' institution, where the poor were always sure of help and consolation and protection. God had appointed that their priests should be poor, like those amongst whom they worked; and in this country and Ireland their priests had laboured for centuries in poverty, depending upon the alms of the faithful. The consequence had been a most intimate bond between priest and people. And he said from his heart, God forbid that their priests should ever become rich; God forbid that they should ever break the bond between themselves and the poor that God had committed to their trust. The Catholic church, though she was divine, because she was made of God - though she preserved an unchanging faith - had, nevertheless, a sorry story to tell of many who had forgotten her teachings. She had been persecuted but it had always, or nearly always, been when she had grown rich - when her priests had become possessors of land and property; then had it happened that the foul spirit had incited the passions of men, and they had laid violent hands upon these possessions, and revolted against the church of God. The church was beginning her second spring in England; the church was growing in the soil. It was the seed which had been cast and had fallen upon the ground, bringing with it life and strength; and it would indeed be to them a source of misery and wretchedness if their clergy were to become rich, and if the church became possessed of these things which would only tend to do her injury and impede her action. in conclusion, he asked them to contribute towards the sum still required to pay for the presbytery.

ST. ALEXANDER'S CHURCH SCHOOLS, BOOTLE

 
Yesterday, Monsignor Capel preached, morning and evening, in St Alexander's Church, Bootle, in aid of the schools attached. In the morning he selected as his text, Christ's exhortation to His disciples - "See that ye despise not one of these little ones, for I say to you that the angels in heaven always see the face of my father who is on heaven." We were cautioned, he said, not to "scandalise" the little ones - not to throw stumbling blocks in their way; for it was better for us that we had not been born than that we should be the instruments for destroying the souls of those whom God so loved. The world, unhappily, was in opposition to God. It polluted the mind of youth by the exhibition of that which was immoral. It polluted the eye, it polluted the ear, it polluted the whole nature of men by constantly inciting in their minds a love for materialism and for physical pleasure. It was not possible for any one to be familiar with the ways of the world in the present day without being astonished at the amount of vice existing on every side; viciousness in youth, viciousness in mid life, viciousness in old age. Men had subverted the morality of God and accepted a new morality of their own, and whilst the man who was untruthful was deemed unworthy of entering into society, the man who was impure, and whose impurity was carried to the the highest point, was pardoned, and readily received in homes which were deemed most holy. Though by the blessing of God his hearers were Catholic, it was impossible for them to move in the world and to be brought into contact with it without suffering more or less. In spite of themselves, they found that they were borne away on this tide of iniquity. This explained how it was that it was impossible to distinguish Catholics from others in the midst of a Protestant or a heathen world. At table they indulged as others indulged; in dress they followed the latest fashion - it might be condemned by the voice of morality and of purity, but it was the fashion, and the fashion must be followed. And is the world had this influence upon them, they might rest assured that the influence passed from them to those with whom they came in contact, and was a stumbling block in their way. With good reason might they be alarmed about the past. Well might they ask themselves in fear and trembling whether there were any now walking this earth whom they had turned away from the path of virtue and of truth; whether there could be those in purgatory - nay, whether there were souls in hell whom by their bad example, by their wickedness, and by their imprudence, they had sent there. What could they do to make up for the past? How could they undo the work which unhappily they had done? They should give a helping hand to those who were struggling with temptation; they should help those who were innocent to preserve their innocence, and enable them to know God's law and to taste of His love. It was for this purpose that he invited them to give their alms. He asked them to have a tender care for the poor children of the parish. The number attending the schools was 600. They were carefully instructed by the trained masters who dwelt in their midst and devoted their whole time to the work. the priests watched over them with paternal care, administered to them the sacraments, and did their best to incite in their hearts a tender love for the holy church, and an earnest zeal for the practice of virtue; and the result has been that these 600 children had grown up in the ways of God, whilst too they had grown in the knowledge which men thought so much of. They had earned the praises of the inspectors by whom the schools had been inspected, and they bore witness by their orderly conduct to the care which had been bestowed upon the, and to the operation of grace within them. And what had all this cost? The sum of 1 8s, they were told, was paid for the education of each of these children. For that mount one of God's own dear ones had for one whole year been watched over and cared for by holy men and trained teachers. What other 1 8s that had ever been spent had been so fruitful - had produced such wondrous good? For less than the cost of the trinkets some present wore had these little ones been preserved in grace and fed with the bread of life. With a remembrance of their past, with a fear that they might have injured other souls, and with the knowledge that for so moderate a sum they were enabled to save a little child for another year, how could they hesitate, how could they do otherwise them comply thoroughly with the appeal which was made to them? The parents of the children had paid on an average 10s per head in school fees, and this had enabled the pastor to obtain the government grant, which might have been greater had the contributions towards the support of the schools been larger. the pastor asked for the very modest sum of 100, and he thought that, with a congregation such as he saw before him and in a cause so sacred, there would not be the least difficulty in raising a sum so modest.
 

Liverpool Mercury   30th August 1875

     
EXTENSION OF SCHOOL ACCOMODATION IN BOOTLE
 
Yesterday afternoon the Rev Canon O'Sullivan, of Birmingham, blessed and laid the foundation stone of a new wing to be added, at a cost of 800, to St Alexander's Roman Catholic Church Schools, Bootle. The very reverend gentleman was assisted in the ceremony by the Rev Fathers Powell, Collison, and O'Sullivan. Before laying the stone, an address to a large congregation was delivered by him, in which he enforced the importance of early religious impressions as tending to produce better Christians and better citizens. The new work has been rendered necessary by the large increase in the number of Catholic children for whom accommodation has to be provided, and in the official condemnation, for the purposes of a seminary, of the Recreation Hall, Brazenose-road. With the addition of the wing, the schools will accommodate 1200 children, for whom a covered playground will also be provided.
 

Liverpool Mercury   8th November 1880

     
ST. ALEXANDER'S CHURCH, BOOTLE
 
A tea party and concert took place on Wednesday evening at the Bootle Town-hall (which was crowded to the door), the object of the most enjoyable entertainment being to give needed help to St Alexander's Schools, which are of the greatest benefit to the residents in the district. The first portion of the programme comprised a series of songs by popular composers - Shield, Ganz, Benedict, V Gabriel, Shiels, &c; and the vocalists who met with special favour were Miss Kate Nono and Mr J S Bradley; other numbers being given by Mr R Collison, Mr C Heart, Mr J O'Neill, and Masters Mitchell, Cavanagh, McDonald, Hamlin, Delahedy, and Kelly. The Gilbert-Sullivan operetta "Trial by Jury" formed the second portion of the programme, Mr James Hodson, who has an excellent tenor voice, specially distinguishing himself as the Defendant. The other parts were sustained by Mrs Oakes, Mr A Grant, Mr Johnson, and Mr Williamson Chambers.
 

Liverpool Mercury   3rd February 1883

ST. ALEXANDER'S CHURCH, BOOTLE
 
Last evening an entertainment took place in the Bootle Town Hall, under the auspices of the congregation of St Alexander's Roman Catholic church, Bootle. The concert was given primarily for the purpose of presenting to the Rev Edward Powell, pastor of the church, an illuminated address, and also of formally handing over to him a handsome stained-glass window, erected in the church and inscribed to him as its first pastor. Mr J Lynch presided, and there was a very large audience. The presentation of the address to the reverend gentleman was made by the Chairman, who said he had had the honour conferred upon him by the congregation of St Alexander's and a few friends of presenting to Father Powell, their venerated pastor, an illuminated address, and to beg his acceptance also of the beautiful stained-glass window which had recently been erected in the church over the high altar. It might be remarked that the presentation was but a small and insignificant return for his faithful services to the church during the 18 years of his pastorate; but of this he could assure him, that his many kindnesses to them had left a great balance in the hearts of his people - a balance of affection from which he might always draw, and which would remain as long as the members of his congregation existed. The presentation was then made amidst loud applause. - Father Powell, in thanking the congregation of his church, stated that during the time he had been their pastor they had contributed over 20,000 towards the furtherance of their religion. - It was stated by the Chairman during the evening that when Father Powell first came to Bootle his congregation numbered 800, but had since increased to 8000. Their schools shortly after being built accommodated about 200 scholars, but now the average attendance per say was 1300. (Loud applause.) In place of the room in which they first held their services they had a handsome church accommodating nearly 1000 people. He spoke in warm terms of the ministry of Father Powell, who will have been with them for 19 years in November next. The programme of the concert contained many enjoyable items. Miss Swyny was warmly encored for he spirited rendering of "Old Ireland's Hearts and Hands," an encore which she thoroughly deserved. Mr J A Muir, in his recital of an amusing story entitled "To see her Future Husband," showed a distinct perception of the points in the piece, and he was thoroughly successful in his attempt to entertain the audience. The remainder of the items were well received, and a very pleasant evening was spent.
 

Liverpool Mercury   24th September 1885

ENTERTAINMENT AT BOOTLE
 
Yesterday, an extensive addition to St Alexander's Roman Catholic Church, Bootle, was opened by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Liverpool (Dr O'Reilly). This church, situated in the midst of a poor and principally Irish populated district, had become too small for the accommodation of the congregation, and it was found necessary to extend the eastern portion of the church. By this addition the seating has been increased from 500 to 850 at the very moderate cost of 2600. Of this sum 1000 had been raised, leaving a balance of 1600 yet to be cleared off. A very fine altar to "Our Lady," erected to the memory of the late Mrs Lynch, has been placed at the north-east corner of the church. The altar is of Caen stone, with granite pillars and three alabaster groups representing scenes in the life of Jesus. A similar altar to St Joseph is in course of erection, and will be placed in the south-east corner of the sacred edifice. At morning service Dr O'Reilly was present, when a coram episcopo was celebrated. The Rev Edward Powell acted as celebrant, the Rev Vanden Berghe as deacon, the Rev G Rigby as sub-deacon, the Very Rev Canon Holden as assistant priest, the Revs Smith and J Counihan as deacons at the throne, and the Rev C V Green as master of ceremonies. A very eloquent sermon was preached by the Bishop. At the conclusion of the service a collection in aid of the building expenses realised 20. In the evening the Rev Austin Powell, of Birchley, was the preacher.
 

Liverpool Mercury   5th May 1884

     

Archbishop Downey Opens Bootle Church Dedicated To His Patron Saint: Town's 7th

 
DEDICATED to St Richard of Chichester, the patron saint of Archbishop Downey, Bootle's seventh church, which is situated in Miranda Road at its junction with Wadham Road, and is intended as a chapel-of-ease to St Alexander's, was opened on Sunday, when the Archbishop celebrated Pontifical High Mass and preached.
The assisting clergy were Frs Charles Taylor and A Horner ( St Alexander's), deacon and sub-deacon of the Mass: Canon Kelly (PP of St Alexander's), assistant priest; Fr Wilcock, MA (PP of St Elizabeth's, Litherland) and Fr Foley, PhD (PP of St Monica's, Bootle), deacons at the throne, and Mgr Adamson, and Fr L Coupe were masters of ceremonies. In the sanctuary were Mgri Molony, Redmond Traymer, Canon Myers (PP, Sacred Heart, St Helens), Dean Madden (PP, St Patrick's, Liverpool), Fr Sargent (PP, St Alphonsus, Liverpool), Fr T A Turner (Metropolitan Cathedral) and other clergy.
The crowded congregation included the Mayor of Bootle (Ald O'Neill), Ald S Mahon (leader) and other Catholic members of the Bootle Town Council. The Gregorian music was sung by St Alexander's boys choir, with Fr C Rigby at the organ.
The Archbishop, in his sermon, congratulated Canon Kelly and the priests and people of St Alexander's on their great achievement in erecting a beautiful and spacious church. In dedicating the church to his (Dr Downey's) patron saint, they were maintaining the tradition of the parish for the mother church had been dedicated to the patron saint of Dr Alexander Goss, who was Bishop of Liverpool at the time of its opening.
His Grace, showing the lessons to be drawn from the life of St Richard, his service to God and the poor and his defence of the rights of the Church, expressed his regret that the cult of native saints was not more popular with Catholics in England. Responding to the toast of his health given by Canon Kelly at a luncheon in St Martin's College, which followed the Mass, the Archbishop again urged Catholics in England to take a greater interest in their own saints. Very few churches were dedicated to them, though they had played a large part in moulding the character of the English people. Referring to the new church he said its opening represented a forward movement in Bootle and he hoped it would eventually become the centre of a separate parish.
Fr Taylor, proposing the toast of the Mayor, said that since he had been in office Ald O'Neill had proved himself a great Catholic and a man of whom Catholics could be proud. He had shown himself a true friend of religion and of the workers, whose condition he had done all that he could to improve.
The Mayour having responded, Fr Rigby toasted the guests, for whom, Ald Mahon replied.
The church, which has cost 7,000, was designed by Mr Anthony Ellis in the Romanesque style and is remarkably spacious, whilst the light, ventilation and acoustics can be described as perfect. The sanctuary in particular is notable for its size, which is three feet wider than the sanctuary of St Alexander's, thus making it possible for elaborate ceremonies to be carried out with ease.
One of the noteworthy features of the church is the altar stone, which was consecrated by Bishop Goss in 1856 and which was n use in the Brownlow Hill Poor Law Institution - where Canon Kelly was for several years chaplain - from, at least, 1862 till the closing of the Institution. The church will accommodate 500.
 

Catholic Times   5th August 1938

ARCHBISHOP OPENS BOOTLE
CHAPEL-OF-EASE
Tribute to Spirit of Enterprise
BUILT AND OPENED WITH A YEAR

May Become New Parish

 
Pontifical High Mass was celebrated by Mgr Downey, Archbishop of Liverpool, on Sunday, when he officiated at the opening of the new chapel-of-ease to St Alexander's, Bootle.
The new church, which had been dedicated to St Richard of Chichester, is situated at the junction of Wadham Road and Miranda Road, Bootle, half-way between St Alexander's and St Francis de Sales, Walton. This convenient position will considerably assist in relieving the pressure not only on the mother church but on St Francis de Sales also.
 
The officers assisting the Archbishop at the Mass were the Rev Charles Taylor, Deacon; the Rev Arthur Horner, Sub-Deacon; Canon J H Kelly, Assistant Priest; Dr Foley and Fr Wilcock, Deacons at the Throne, and Mgr T Adamson and Rev L Coupe, MCs. Present in the sanctuary were Mgri Redmond, Traynor and Moloney, and Canon Myler.
Addressing the congregation of 500 people, Mgr Downey congratulated the parish priest of St Alexander's, the assistant priests, and the parishioners on the success of their enterprise. It was only last August that he had the privilege and honour of laying the foundation-stone and now within twelve months the church was being opened with Pontifical High Mass.

Personal Honour

He referred to the personal honour to himself in having the church named after his patron saint and particularly to his service - this was the service taught by Jesus Christ in the Gospels, he said. Continuing, Mgr Downey asked the congregation always to follow the example shown by the patron of their church. St Richard was one of the greatest of the English saints. He was at one time a Chancellor of Oxford University and Bishop of Chichester. For two years he was homeless, wandering the countryside, ministering to the poor. In 1253 he died, literally worn out by the labour of his service.
The parishioners of St Alexander's have built the chapel-of-ease to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the establishment of the parish of St Alexander.
The foundation-stone of the new church was laid by Mgr Downey on Sunday, August 1, last year, prior to the ceremony, all the men of the parish, led by the Rev L Coupe, assistant priest at the mother church, marched to the site accompanied by St Vincent's Band.

Diamond Jubilee of Mother Church

Addressing those present on that occasion, Mgr Downey said it was a particular noteworthy one for the parishioners of St Alexander's because they were then celebrating the diamond jubilee of their church and laying the foundation-stone of what he hoped would be a new parish church.
When St Alexander's church was opened, 76 years ago, a graceful compliment was paid to the opener, Mgr Alexander Goss, then Bishop of the diocese, by dedicating it to his patron saint, St Alexander of Alexandria, who lived about 325.

Larger Sanctuary

This was an appropriate choice, for Alexandria was a great seaport of the ancient world. Following the tradition of the parish, the parish priest and his parishioners have decided to pay another gracious compliment by dedicating their new church to St Richard of Chichester, the patron saint of the present Archibishop of Liverpool.
St Richard's has been built in the Romanesque style and is a solid structure of brick with stone facings, 75ft by 44ft. The church will accommodate 500 people. The sanctuary is a spacious one and is three feet wider than that of the mother church of St Alexander's.

Catholic Herald   5th August 1938

NEW ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OPENED
Dr Downey's Congratulations
BUILT IN TWELVE MONTHS
 
"I CONGRATULATE you all on the efficiency, attractiveness, and beauty of this new building," said Dr R Downey (Archbishop of Liverpool) during the celebration of Pontifical High Mass at the opening of the new Church of St Richard of Chichester, at the junction of Wadham-road and Miranda-Road, Bootle, on Sunday.
The church, which is named after the patron saint of the Archbishop, is a chapel-of-ease to St Alexander's RC church, Bootle, which was also named after the patron saint of the then Bishop of Liverpool, Dr Alexander Goss. The foundation stone of the new church was laid by the Archbishop exactly a year ago, when the mother church was celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary.
The new church is built in Romanesque style, and will accommodate 500 people, it is situated halfway between St Alexander's and St Francis de Sale's, Walton,
A large crowd attended the opening of the church.
"The opening of a new church is always an occasion for great rejoicing, and so I am very happy to be here to share in your rejoicing, and to offer my felicitations to all who have successfully carried out his great achievement," continued Dr Downey.
"St Richard was one of the great English Saints. He played an important part in the formation of the character of the people of this country, and exercised a great influence in the destiny of the country. Historians have not credited him with any outstanding achievements, and yet he was a really great man, and a great Saint. Down through the ages men have been credited with fame for a number of reasons. In the says of primitive man, the person with the most physical strength was called great. Then wealth and position were qualifications necessary, and finally intellectual and moral superiority were the attributes of greatness.
"Christ altered all that. He taught that real greatness could only be found in service. St Richard of Chichester had learnt this lesson of Christ. In his early manhood he had to work on the land to keep his family, which included a ne'er-do-well brother. He had a certain amount of time for study, and by hard work, he became Chancellor of Chichester.
"He was turned out of his living by Henry 3rd, and went on to the road-side to hold services for the poor, and teach them the word of God. He fought the great battle of the Church, and influenced the destiny of the Church in England for many years. The lesson we must learn from St Richard is the lesson that real greatness can only be found in service."
The Mayor of Bootle (Alderman James O'Neill), Alderman Simon Mahon (leader of the Bootle Council) and a number of aldermen and councillors were present at the church.
 

Bootle Times   5th August 1938

 

     
ARCHBISHOP OPENS NEW CITY CHURCH, OF ST. ALEXANDER 
 
RISEN from the ashes of its predecessor - the old church of St Alexander, which was razed in the 1941 blitz - a new church, one of the biggest and most beautiful Roman Catholic churches on Merseyside, and dedicated to the same patron saint, was opened yesterday by Dr John C Heenan, the new Archbishop of Liverpool.
This was the second time Dr Heenan had blessed and opened a newly-completed church in the archdiocese since his enthronement, and the first ceremony of this nature he had performed in North Liverpool.
The completion of the new church is a fitting reward for the faith and perseverance of the Rev Father M Nugent, parish priest, and his parishioners, who, ever since the war deprived them of their church, had planned and collected funds to make yesterday's event possible.
And, indeed, no finer successor could have been provided than the beautifully-designed, modern church of St Alexander the twin towers of which form a new landmark along the Mersey waterfront.
St Alexander's is situated close to the Liverpool-Bootle boundary in St John's Road, Kirkdale, in one of the most thickly populated parts of Liverpool.
The parish, founded in 1862 is one of the oldest in the city area.
A group of Irish immigrants met in a hayloft in Derby Road to discuss their plans for building a place of worship. Four years later, building was begun on the old church of St Alexander and in a year it was completed.
The original church, which was of stone, was constructed in a period when the surrounding district was still open country. The industrialisation of the area and the rise of Liverpool as a seaport, all took place during the church's lifetime.
The descendants of generations of worshippers at St Alexander's are now scattered throughout the world. The parochial register, which for many was the only record in existence of the baptism, confirmation or marriage, of relatives, was destroyed in the blitz.
Since the church was destroyed, Father Nugent has had so many inquiries from all over the world - particularly from America and Canada - from people seeking information from the register that he had had cards printed to inform them that the register has been destroyed, and that there are no copies in existence.
 
Approximate cost of 90,000
 
The new church has cost approximately 90,000. It has two years since the foundation stone was laid by Dr William Godfrey, as Archbishop of Liverpool.
The original church was designed by the second Pugin and was a very elaborate Gothic structure, seating about 800 people. It was famous for its magnificent organ and an ivory crucifix of large size, both of which were destroyed.
The new building has been largely financed from war-damage payments. It is estimated that to have replaced the old stone building would have cost 200,000.
The design of the new church has its origin in the Romanesque style but is contemporary in mood and general character. Externally the church is built in red sandfaced bricks and the roof is covered with hardrow flags which are fawn in colour.
Twin towers are placed at the east end and are finished with Portland stone, crowned with a tapering roof of copper, finished with a tall gold cross. External doors are in teak.
Internally, the church is light and luminous, with a novel treatment of fenestration. The main sanctuary is divided from the Lady Chapel by a light and elegant bronze screen. The screen supports a Calvary in carved wood.
The main altar is in white stone and the mensa is supported by two carved pillars each depicting an angelic figure. The Communion rail is in light old bronze. The tall tapering columns are finished in gold leaf and support the arcade on either side.
Wooden ceilings throughout are ablaze with gold and colour.
The floors are in terrazo, filled with gold mosaic and coloured emblems.
The church has a spacious interior, being 162 feet long, 58 feet wide and 35 feet to the eaves.
The twin towers, in which it is hoped eventually to instal a peal of bells, are an unusual feature. The copper roofs of the towers will in time provide a colourful effect, because the action of the weather will make them green.
Another unusual feature is the building of a Lady Chapel behind the high altar, which is old English in its origin.
The church hall adjoining, built three years ago, has been used as a place of worship, but will now be available for use for various parochial purposes.
The architect of the new church of St Alexander is Mr F X Velarde, and the contractors are Messrs Tyson Ltd.
 

HIGH MASS RELAYED TO KIRKDALE CROWDS

 
More than a thousand parishioners crammed the new Roman Catholic Church of St Alexander, Kirkdale, and thousands more blocked St John's Road outside, yesterday evening, when the church was officially opened with the celebration of Solemn High Mass.
Scores of the houses in the area were decorated with white and yellow flags, rosettes and favours of the Papal Flag.
When Dr Heenan (Archbishop of Liverpool) and members of the Metropolitan Chapter arrived for the service, police had to struggle to hold back the crowds who milled around the church.
The church itself had been filled for more than an hour before the service was due to begin.
Father Nugent (Parish Priest) celebrated the Mass, the first in the new church, assisted by Father Taylor (Deacon) and Father MacDowell (Sub Deacon) in the presence of the Archbishop and several Canons of the Archbishop and several Canons of the Metropolitan Chapter, including Canon Doyle, Canon Wilcock and Monsignor Canon Adamson, V G, Mgr Canon T A Turner and Mgr Redmond and Mgr Curry were also present.
The congregation included clergy from the Archdiocese, the Mayor and Mayoress of Bootle (Alderman and Mrs Albert Moore), the Town-clerk of Bootle (Mr H Partington) and Mrs Partington, and the Deputy Lord Mayor of Liverpool (Alderman John Sheehan) and Mrs Sheehan.
 
Many kneel in the streets
 
The crowd who were unable to get into the church followed the service from loud speakers, and knelt in the streets, joining in the hymn singing.
In his sermon Dr Heenan said that the parishioners of St Alexander's would value their church more perhaps than parishioners elsewhere who ha never lost their church.
The names of most of the people who lost their lives because of enemy action in the area would now be forgotten, apart from their relatives. The church would be their memorial. "The people of this parish saw their church in ruins, and in this they were not alone," said the Archbishop. "Since Anglo Saxon times the Catholic people have seen their churches in ruins.
"First the Danes and then our own people, those who were inspired with a hatred for the Holy Mass, destroyed our churches. and so for generations Catholics had to worship in secret.
"Holy Mass was a treasonable offence. Yet Priests and people gladly risked their lives to preserve the altar of God. The people of this parish in their turn have been faithful to the Holy Mass.
"They knew, as every Catholic knows, that the Mass is of imperishable value where-ever it may be celebrated.
"This Archdiocese is united in admiration of the sacrifices which the people of this parish have made in order that they might be allowed to worship God in the Catholic way."
Dr Heenan congratulated the architects and builders of the new church. "They have raised to God a most worthy structure, original and pleasing." he said.
"At the moment, when few dare to build great churches, you have thought of your past and your future, and you have not hesitated to spend large sums of money so that you and your children may be proud of our faith." he said.
 
Build boldly for education
 
The Archbishop said he was particularly pleased that the church was to be called St Alexander's after the patron, as it always had been. He believed it was the only Church of St Alexander, not only in the British Isles, but in the English-speaking world.
St Alexander was a great scholar, he said "I want you here in Bootle to realise that your children, too, must be given an opportunity to become Christian scholars. This building has cost a great sum of money - but your grammar school which, please God, in a very short time will be yours that too will cost a great sum. "Plan and build boldly for the education of your children."
When the Mass was over the crowds in the streets outside knelt and gave a tremendous ovation as the Archbishop, blessing them as he went, made his way to a car.
Many of them rushed to kiss his hand, and held their children up for his blessing. Afterwards the Archbishop, members of the Chapter, Clergy and some parishioners attended a private reception at Bootle Town Hall.
 

Liverpool Daily Post   29th July 1957