St Mary's, Brierley Hill
Heritage Open Day 2020
Heritage Open Day is England’s annual celebration of local history, architecture and culture. Coordinated nationally and run with the help of thousands of volunteers, the September event is an opportunity for access to properties and events which cast a light on what makes neighbourhoods and communities special.
In 2019, St. Mary’s Church was one of a number of buildings in Brierley Hill, West Midlands, which participated in this event for the first time, opening its doors to a large number of visitors. This year the format has had to be changed as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic and the event will be online, with the participating buildings featured via Facebook.
The opening event is on Saturday 12th. September, live-streamed at dawn. It will be recorded and put on Facebook and will be available online after the Open Day itself.
Have a look at what is going on in Brierley Hill at https://www.facebook.com/BrierleyHillHOD
The Sisters have added greatly to the spiritual life of the parish, instructing converts to the faith, working in the Community, visiting the sick and being part of the SVP conference. This was formed in 1931 and has continued to the present day. There is a Charity Craft Group which meets fortnightly and has provided blankets and uniforms for children in Africa and hats for the neo-natal unit at Russells Hall Hospital. Parishoners support the Food Bank by means of regular donations. The junior liturgy group meets every other week in term time for children up to First Communion..
Music has always played an important part in the life of the Parish, with organists and choirs. In 1981 a folk group was formed, supported by guitars, and this group and the formal choir has now merged to lead the singing at Mass.
Our Parish Centre is used for social events in the Parish, meetings and courses and also by groups in the wider community.
Charity craft group
Monday 19th February, and every other Monday 2pm-4pm
Blankets are now being knitted for the Black Country Foodbank. All are welcome, tea, coffee and lots of chat guaranteed!
Scripture Group Wednesday 28th February 7:45-9:15pm
St Mary's Church was built in 1873 having been designed by E W Pugin, son of the famous Augustus Pugin, and built entirely from donations by local Catholic families. There had been a Mission in the town since 1854 served by the Priest from Our Lady and All Saints, Stourbridge. Mass was said in a room at the back of the shops which had originally been a pub called The Mouth of the Nile although no-one knows the origins of this name!
The shops still remain and are Grade 2 listed, but the rear of the building was demolished in 1995 and a new purpose-built Parish Centre replaced with what had been known as the guild room. The Church was consecrated by Right Reverend Joseph Cleary, Bishop of Cresmia and Auxilliary of Birmingham on 4th March 1983. Major alterations took place in the late 1960s when the Sacred Heart Altar was removed from the side aisle and central heating installed. Further rennovations took place in 1995 which involved major repairs, replastering and roofing works.
In 1889 St Mary's school was built at the rear of the Church but this burnt down in the early 1960s and a new school was built, and opened, in nearby Mill Street in 1964. The original Presbytery was a rambling farmhouse on the same site but this was replaced in the early 1930s with the present building which is now the convent. This is now home to the Daughters of Divine Love, since 2013.