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Two Churches One Parish

The past is a source of knowledge, and the future is a source of hope. Love of the past implies faith in the future.
~ Stephen Ambrose

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
~ Jeremiah 29:11

Diocese Of Leeds

Parish Priest: Fr Keiron Walker

Parish Administrator: Nick Connor

Tel: 01274 583708; Email:

Parish of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

In 2009 a new parish of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was established incorporating the parishes of St Mary and St Walburga, Shipley, and St Aidan, Baildon. The two former parish churches continue to serve the communities of Shipley and Baildon but with one parish priest, Father Keiron Walker, who is located at St Walburga’s Presbytery. Within the former parish of St Mary and St Walburga was the church dedicated to St Anthony of Padua located in Windhill. As part of the overall reorganisation which saw the creation of the new parish of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, St Anthony’s church was closed in that same year, 2009. Outlined below are some notes on the history of the churches which have come together to form our new parish.

The church of St Mary and St Walburga

In the 1950’s the original chapel of St Mary and St Walburga become too small for the growing parish which it had served for almost a century. Post-war refugees from Eastern Europe and Italy contributed to the expanding community of some 2000 parishioners. Even with 5 Masses each Sunday, including one Polish-language Mass, accommodation in the old chapel was stretched to the limit. The present church of St Mary and St Walburga was designed by JH Langtry-Langton and constructed at a cost of £50,000. The new church was opened by the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Rev George Patrick Dwyer, on Monday 4 June 1962. The site of the church was previously occupied by a large Victorian house, the stones of which were used for the foundations of the new building and walls up to sill height. A presbytery was also built adjoining the church.

The old church in Farfield Rd was used as a parish hall until it was demolished in the late 1970’s . The original Gothic stonework on the church entrance was carefully numbered, taken down, and re-built as the centre piece to the new 3-arched entrance, during the extension of the Church of the Sacred Heart, Ilkley. This was by kind permission of the parish priest, Father Peter Walmsley, as a gift, to his good friend, Father Paddy Roche, who had his own family coat of arms, sculptured into the keystone

The church of St Aidan

When the parish of St Mary and St Walburga was established in 1863, it included Baildon. However by 1929 the population of Baildon had grown large enough to require its own church. The present site of St Aidan's was purchased in 1930 for £720 and the following year Fr. McGarvey, the parish priest of St Mary and St Walburga, conducted a fundraising tour of the USA, raising 90% of the building costs of the new church. The foundation stone of St Aidan's church was laid by Bishop Cowgill on 18 October 1932. The church was formally opened in August 1933 as a chapel of ease in the parish of St Mary and St Walburga. In 1945 St Aidan's became a separate parish with Fr McGarvey as parish prieSt St Aidan's remained a parish in its own right until the reorganisation of 2009 when it reverted to the status of a chapel of ease within the new parish of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

St Anthony’s Church, Windhill

In 1948 a new parish of St Anthony’s was created within the district of Windhill and parts of Idle and Thackley. The original church was the converted Palais de Dance, purchased for £3000 by Fr. O'Riordan, parish priest of St Walburga. A nearby house in Carr Lane was also obtained for use as a presbytery and Fr Denis O’Mahoney installed as the first parish prieSt

A new church dedicated to St Anthony of Padua, designed by Chambers and Blythe, was built at the junction of Crag Rd and Owlet Rd, replacing the old Palais de Dance. This was formally opened by Bishop Gordon Wheeler on 18 April 1967. The former church was converted to use as a Parish Hall and can still be seen today behind the New Inn pub on Crag Rd.

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At that time the parish consisted of two churches, St Anthony of Padua, Windhill and Our Lady and St Anthony at Wrose. In 1997 the latter church was closed and, after a life of almost 50 years, the parish was finally disestablished. St Anthony’s and the Windhill community then transferred to St Walburga’s parish and the remainder to St Francis of Assisi, Eccleshill.

St Anthony’s church, Windhill, continued to function as a chapel-of-ease in the parish of St Walburga until 2009 when, following the major reorganisation of parishes within the Bradford area, the church was finally closed.

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

"Let go of your plans. The first hour of your morning belongs to God."

Edith Stein was born into a prominent Jewish family in Breslau, Germany in 1891. By the age of 14 Edith declared herself an atheist, giving up the practice of her Jewish faith. Later she studied philosophy at the University of Gottingen, earning a Doctorate in 1916. Edith's spiritual journey to Catholicism began when she read the autobiography of St Teresa of Avila. She was baptised in 1922 and joined the Carmelite order in 1934, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Sister Teresa moved to the Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands in 1938. She was arrested during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz on 9 August 1942.

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This highly intelligent woman was a prolific writer and many of her books have been translated into English.Sister Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987 and canonised in 1999.

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