The Servite Friars first entered the Diocese of Salford in 1914, when they were entrusted with the Parish of Todmorden. In 1922 Bishop Casartelli approached the Prior Provincial, Fr. Joachim M. McCarthy OSM, with regard to the possibility of sending more friars to open a new parish at Kersal and to act as chaplains to the Carmelite Convent in Vine Street (opened 1919).
For a number of years the Servite Priory at Kersal was the residence of the Prior Provincial, and this inevitably drew the parish community into an even closer association with the various activities of the Order in this country and abroad. In September 1988 Salford Cathedral hosted a special Mass to commemorate the centenary of the canonisation of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order, and an exhibition of Servite life and history was held in the Priory. Today the parish supports many different societies and groups, and numerous groups support the Parish Priest in the pastoral care and administration of the parish. The local people are well involved in Servite spirituality, honouring Our Lady of Sorrows with compassion for those who struggle and support for Servite missionaries.
In 1988 the Servites set about the reordering and redecoration of the church. A new sanctuary design, incorporating many features of the existing sanctuary, was completed in time for Holy Week 1990. By extending the sanctuary, and bringing forward the main altar, a greater sense of liturgical space was achieved, together with emphasis upon the Word of God in the new ambo-lectern, and a newly-commissioned baptismal font to highlight New Birth in Christ.
So, after nearly seventy years of ministry at Kersal, the Servite Friars welcomed Bishop Patrick Kelly to the church on 14 September 1990, to perform the beautiful liturgy of consecration and dedication.
The parish school continues to achieve the highest standards in national assessments, and extra classrooms were added in 2008. The parish centre was also given extensive renovation and modernisation in 2009 . Numerous parish groups are flourishing, including Co-ordinators, Faith and Justice, Music Ministry, Prayer and Liturgy Groups, Youth Group, Maintenance, Servers, Mums & Toddlers, Scouts, Guides, Brownies, Special Ministers Home-visitors.
The Servite Community at Kersal, in the Diocese of Salford, has pastoral responsibility for a vibrant faith community and an excellent primary school. The latter continues to achieve the highest standards in national assessments. The parish centre offers a place for the faith community to gather for various functions and celebrate their identity.
The Servites have ministered in the present parish since 1919 and as a result the faith community has taken to heart the Servite Spirituality, especially in its Marian form (Our Lady of Sorrows standing with suffering humanity).
For further information
Our Lady of Dolours
500 Bury New Road
Phone: 0161 792 2152
Fax: 0161 792 7943