New church window marks so much of Oldham's important past

Date published: 31 July 2020

A new stained glass window has been fitted in St Patrick's Church in Oldham to mark the coming together of three parishes into one.

It also marks the 150th anniversary of the church actually being built.

The parish was established in 1858, but the church was first opened on Sunday, June 4, 1870.

The former parishes of St Mary's Oldham and Holy Rosary, Fitton Hill were closed in 2018 and joined St Patrick's Church.

The new window takes elements that were important to people from among the artworks of the previous churches and includes them as part of the story celebrated within.

The aspiration is to make the stories of the past part of a now shared story.

Cotton, of course, played a major part, as did coal mining.

These industries are portrayed in the left-hand panel at the bottom.

However, many people came from Ireland to nurse in the Oldham hospital and this provides a link with the present when many of our Indian and Filipino Catholic community came to Oldham for the same reason.

Catholic schools have also been very important in the shared history of the three parishes and the Mercy nuns served in St Patrick's school from 1971 to 1991.

An image of the foundress of the Mercy nuns, Venerable Mother M McAuley, appears in the right-hand panel.

Two other elements from the window similarly tell something of the shared history.

One of those is of the two World Wars.

The war-memorial, from outside St. Patrick's Church (a Celtic cross), is portrayed at the bottom of the right-hand panel.

The Whit walks, a proud memory for so many Oldhamers of different Christian denominations are also portrayed.

Finally, in the middle of the left-hand panel of the window are images which depict the modern community of the now new Parish of Our Lady and St. Patrick's.

There are now people from over 50 nationalities worshipping in the church each Sunday and our schools now celebrate a diversity that also includes people of other faiths.

Early reactions to the window on social media have been very positive.

"Wow!!! It's beautiful!" wrote one parishioner.

Another wrote: "It's truly lovely."

Another said: "This is fantastic, indeed."

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