Our Lady of The Rosary, Shotley Bridge

In 1949 a new parish was established in Shotley Bridge. Prior to this, worshippers attended Blackhill, St Mary’s. Fr John Kelly, who was the hospital chaplain at Shotley Bridge Hospital first began holding masses in the presbytery on Snows Green Road. As the congregation grew, the masses were held in a room at the King’s Head Pub in the village. The Church was built in 1952 with seating for 120 and a church hall attached. The church architect was Anthony Joseph Rossi of Consett who also designed St Patrick’s Church in Consett. In the early years, for the May procession, the
statue of Our Lady Immaculate had to be borrowed from Blackhill, St Mary’s, after their procession had taken place. Consequently Mrs Nicholson
decided that the parish should have their own and generously purchased the statue we see today. The statue of the Sacred Heart, in white marble with a brown marble cloak and heart, was paid for and donated by the
parishioners of Blackhill. Most will remember the Sanctuary for its mural, painted by renowned local artist and school teacher Sheila Mackie (1928-
2010). Originally it had been intended as a triptych but permission was
not given. Sadly, the mural was damaged by smoke in 2013 and can no longer beseen. Since 1987, when Fr James Burke retired, Shotley Bridge has been served from Blackhill. Fr Tom McHale has been serving the two parishes since 2013. In recent years the parish has worked closely with her four sister parishes in the Consett area and since 2017 Fr Tom and Fr John Bagnall have served all five churches in rotation, assisted and supported by Deacons David Westgarth, Shaun McGee and Chris Callan. The church hall has been well used by parishioners and the local community. It still provides the meeting place for the Shotley Bridge Brownies Group. Through
the 1960s and 70s there were also thriving Guides, Cubs and Scouts that had been established by Fr Jim Gunning. Sunday mass is at 5:30 pm and there is a weekday Mass on Monday mornings, followed by coffee and breakfast – a
weekly event which raises funds for the parish and many other causes.

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