Birkenhead News August 1900

The Bishop of Shrewsbury, on Sunday last opened the new Roman Catholic Church of St. Joseph, a handsome edifice in North Road. The opening services were largely attended, admission being by ticket. At the morning service Dr. Allen (Bishop of Shrewsbury ) pontificated, the assistant priest at the throne was the Very Rev. Canon Marsden, VG and the assistants at the throne were the Very Rev Canon Barry and the Rev Father Eugene Rooney. The celebrant of the Mass was the Very Rev. Provost Clegg, the Deacon was the Rev. E Kirby. The Very Rev. Canon Singleton was Master of Ceremonies. The music of the Mass for male voices was Van Bree in C. conducted by Mr. J. Flannery, Mr. J. Davenport officiating at the organ. The Offertory piece was Cherabinis ďAve MariaĒ which was very effectively rendered by Miss F. Bardsley. The principals in the choir, whose efforts were very praiseworthy, were Mr. B. Broderick (first tenor), Mr M Perry (second tenor) and Mr. J. Kennedy (bass).
Before delivering his sermon, which was characterised by much eloquence and force, Dr. Allen said it was his first duty, as it was his greatest pleasure, to speak in his own name, as representing the diocese, and to offer his congratulations to that portion of the Catholic Church, which centred in and around that building, upon the accomplishment of a great factor - a great and stupendous factor - the completion of the building of a new church. He could only hope that the church would do what it had been built to do, and that it would be not only a centre for advancing Christianity, but an instrument from which would go forth blessings abundant upon those who had striven to make it what it was, and to those who would help them in time to come - and that those blessings would descend upon them and theirs here and hereafter.
In the evening the service was Rosary followed by a hymn and sermon by the Rev. Charles Coupe, S.J. who selected his text from the 14th Chapter of St. Johnís Gospel, and the 6th Verse. After this a quartette (Deum Omnes) by Buhler was nicely rendered, and the Benediction was then pronounced. His Lordship the Bishop of Shrewsbury officiated and had as his attendants the Very Rev. Provost Clegg and Canon Barry, Father Carton being the officiating priest and the Rev. Kirby Master of Ceremonies. For the following description of the church we are indebted to the architect Mr. Edmund Kirby :-
''The church is situated on a plot of land in North-Road at the corner of Willowbank Road on a site given by a generous donor. Besides containing the church the land is big enough for a future clergy house. There are two entrances to the church from North-Road leading into a large spacious porch, entering into the nave and aisles, which terminated in a chancel and two side chapels. At the chancel ends of the church, escape doors are provided in case of fire or panic. The usual priests and assistantsí sacristies adjoin the Chancel. The church is spacious, lofty, well-ventilated, and is heated with hot water; electric light will be used. The general style of architecture is English Gothic and the church will accommodate about 700 people. The contractor for the whole of the work was Mr. Peter Rothwell of Birkenhead who has practically executed the work in the time stipulated for its completion. Although there are still many objects wanted for the completion of the furnishing of the church, several gifts from benefactors have been received, among which are the tabernacle, candlesticks, sanctuary lamp and vases etc.''

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