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Our Church is Open for Private Prayer

We are delighted to announce that St John Vianney’s church has been approved (we were informed by the Vicar General that our church and St Cuthbert’s were the first to be so-approved in the Diocese thanks to Fr Etienne’s prompt online paperwork) to reopen for private prayer on Monday 15th June 2020.

Initially, we will be open for two hours per day (except Saturday). Social distancing restrictions and additional hygiene measures will be in place, and stewards will be on hand to guide and assist you. Please note that capacity is very limited, and if we reach our maximum number people will be asked to queue outside the church.

Initial Opening Times (from Monday 15th June):

Sunday-Friday 1:00pm-3:00pm
Saturday: closed

Please take note of the following important information:

  • Please do not visit the church if you have any symptoms of coronavirus, including high temperature, cough, loss of smell or taste. You must also not visit if you have been asked to shield or to self-isolate to protect yourself or others.
  • Hand sanitisers will be provided and must be used when you enter and as you leave the building.
  • You must keep at least 2m apart from other people at all times, following the one-way system. Entry is via the side door (off the car park) and exit will be via the west doors (on the Park Road side).
  • Please also maintain 2m distance at all times in the car park.
  • Benches will be designated with spaces for sitting. You may only sit in a designated space. 
  • The opening is strictly for private, individual prayer, and silence must be observed in the church at all times.
  • We are asked to keep ventilation to a maximum by keeping windows and some doors open at all times – therefore, it may be colder than usual. Please wear suitable clothing! Also bear in mind that at busy periods you may need to wait outside the church.
  • Many other items have been removed from the church at this time, including CTS books, leaflets etc.
  • You may light votive candles (one person at a time). However, there will be no tapers or lighters – your candle may only be lit from another candle on the stand. Hand sanitiser must be fully dry before you go near to a flame, as the sanitiser is highly flammable. Please do not touch a candle unless you intend to light it.
  • Please do not touch statues, even for veneration. Please avoid touching surfaces in the church as much as possible.
  • There is no requirement to wear a face covering or mask, but you are welcome to do so if you wish.

Our substantial brick church with a prominent west end was built in 1958-9 to the designs of Sandy and Norris.  

Internally it is high and impressive, with the body of the church divided into a series of shell domes supported on thick round arches, with passage aisles giving on to small side chapels along its length.  As with Velarde’s late work, there is a strong Romanesque influence, which culminates in an apsed East end – though with round 1950s’ style top lights in the window niches.  The Romanesque style and use of concrete construction was employed by E B Norris in his fine listed church in Rochdale of the 1920s. 

The parish was established to cater for the Marton, Preston New Road areas, and to relieve the increasing school population of St Cuthbert’s parish. A school was built in 1934, with a church accommodated in its lower hall until the establishment of the present church. The foundation stone for this was laid in 1958 and the church opened the following year. The current presbytery at 26 Glastonbury Avenue dates from 1966. A parish centre was built in the 1970s – this would later be named after Pope John Paul II (now a canonised saint of the Church).

The church consists of a west tower flanked by a porch and what was formerly the baptistery. The Nave sits beneath three sail domes, transeptal chapels and a semicircular apse with ambulatory. Powerful interior with pierced internal buttresses supporting the domes and clever manipulation of light. There is a scheme of contemporary stained glass including a north window showing St John Vianney. There is an unusual reredos made of fragments of coloured glass set into a resin composition.

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