Faith Trail Online: 10:15am

Between 10am and 3:30pm on the first Saturday of every month we’re running a special online version of our monthly Faith Trail in real-time so you enjoy it even if we can’t do it in person at the moment!

10:15am The Faith Trail begins! After a general introduction there is an explanation of some aspects of the Christian faith and Catholicism and a tour of Saint Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, followed by tea and biscuits.

Saint Peter’s Roman Catholic Church

Saint Peter’s Roman Catholic Church is part of the diocese of Leeds and the universal Catholic church around the world. The church opened in June 1933. Its history, like that of the whole Faith Trail, is that of peoples continuously on the move.

Christianity came to Britain during the Roman occupation almost 2000 years ago, and to Bradford as early as the seventh century. There have been Christians living and praying here ever since. The Reformation in the 16th century tragically divided the church; the ancestors of those now worshipping at Saint Peter’s became known as “Roman Catholics”, to distinguish them from the “Church of England”.

Saint Peter’s was built in Romanesque style, with accommodation for 700 people. It has an organ loft, bell tower, baptismal font and several statues of saints and Mary, mother of Jesus.

However, the focal point is the altar, where the main service, the Mass, is celebrated, and the tabernacle, where in a very special sense for Roman Catholics Jesus is truly present.

John Joyce is the Faith Guide at Saint Peter’s Roman Catholic Church at the top of Leeds Road- the starting point of the Faith Trail. He has been a key member of the Faith Trail family since its inception. Here are his thoughts:

“The more I walk the Faith Trail the more I reflect that it is not ‘them’, the other that we are looking at, but our own heritage, ourselves that we are seeking to understand better.

The struggles involved in the arrival, finding a place to call home, building up, yes and decline of People of Faith is our story, our Journey.

Almost without exception the individual migrant workers, and then the families who followed them, arrived with nothing but what they could carry. (An elderly parishioner told me she arrived in England with her husband and £10 between them). However, practice of their faith was precious to them, an umbilical cord which bound them to the country, family and community they had left behind to look for a better future. 

They said their prayers where they could – usually in their lodgings, then in converted houses, moving on to purchase and adapt larger, often disused buildings as their communities grew. Old adapted buildings taken over on Leeds Road included a closed down police station, a public ‘wash-house’, a warehouse, as well as adapting dual-use spaces, such as a school hall. Only later, as community fund-raising efforts permitted, did they move on to build brand new purpose- built places of worship to be proud of.

It is worth reflecting that faith is/was not necessarily strongest when the latest newest building was finally acquired. You might find that it was strongest, most precious when they had the least … when they had nothing else.

If we are blind as we dash around, and stock up; if we forget this past we are the poorer for it. Much of this heritage is still there to see if we look closely enough – buildings which along with treasured family albums of loved generations that have gone before us, help us to know where we came from, who we are.”

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