About our Churches
The Holy Child and St Joseph Catholic Church is a parish of the Diocese of Northampton in the centre of Bedford. Our sister parish is Our Lady of Ransom in Kempston.
History of our Church: a brief outline:
The Parish in Bedford was started in 1863 by Father John Warmoll. It was through his great efforts and after much hardship and frustration the present church was built and opened in 1874, though the work was not completed until 1913. The Church was the design of the well known Ecclesiastical Architect Gilbert Blount. Sadly Father Warmoll did not live to see his work come to fruition, as he died in 1885.
In 1986 the church underwent extensive renovations and the present day interior design you see reflects the work carried out at the time, resulting in the beautiful and fitting building in which we worship today.
The fabric of the building requires regular maintenance, which is always carried out sympathetically, to reflect the heritage of Father Warmoll’s legacy.
An illustrated booklet entitled “A Guided Tour” has been produced to give you an in depth guide to the architectural gems and the historical facts, which are contained though sometimes hidden, within our Church building. Copies can be obtained from the sacristy (£5).
There has been a Catholic Church in Kempston for over 65 years. The original Church, a wooden nissan hut, was situated within the grange army camp. The Church was soon transferred to a brick building which was originally the arms store situated near the main entrance. Here both Army personnel and parishioners joined together for mass.
Our Lady’s Kempston has been in operation for over 35 years. The building was originally the local telephone exchange bought by Donnelly’s builders and lent to the Parish for use as a Catholic Church. We had services in the local Transfiguration Anglican Church for 6 months while the parishioners decorated the Church and raised money for the fittings which reflect the building you see today. On completion Donnelly’s gifted the Building to the Parish. We were originally known as the Kempston & Wotton Parish. Services for Wotton were held as a Saturday Vigil Mass at green hut, then the Methodist Church.
The Parish Priest was Father Cahill who served both parishes for 10 years, living in accommodation within Our Lady’s. The altar of our Church was consecrated by Bishop Tomas on the 19th April 1983. Father Cahill died in 2000 and since his death we share the priestly ministry with St Joseph’s.