History of Our Lady of Lourdes, Yardley Wood
This area of England was, in the early 16th Century, in the county of Worcestershire and was given by Henry VIII as part of a divorce settlement to Katherine of Aragon. It remained rural until the turn of this century, when the industrial town of Birmingham expanded.
This area of Yardley Wood was served with Mass from 1911 by the Capuchins from Olton. In 1925 a scout hut in Brigfield Road was acquired where the first Mass was celebrated by Fr O’Hagan of English Martyrs, Sparkhill. The priests of English Martyrs served the area until 1931, when the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes was established with Fr Denis Murphy as first parish priest. The first church and presbytery were built in 1935. School classrooms were built with the church serving also as the school hall (the present school hall).
In the 1950s and 1960s, as the parish increased in numbers, money was raised for the building of a new church. The current church was completed and opened on 11th October 1966 with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Joseph Cleary. It was consecrated on the Patronal Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11th February 1980 by Archbishop George Patrick Dwyer. The neighbouring parishes of St Jude, Maypole and St Ambrose Barlow, Hall Green both grew from chapels served from Our Lady of Lourdes, becoming distinct parishes in 1967 and 1979 respectively.
The parish has been served by four parish priests: - Fr Denis Murphy (1931-1970), Fr Denis O’Shea (1970-1984), Canon Peter McKenna (1984 -2000), Canon Sean Grady (2001). They have been assisted over the years by a significant number of curates, Deacons (Philip Waites, Peter Seeney (RIP) and presently Tim Anthony) and Religious Sisters (Congregations of St Paul and presently Immaculate Heart of Mary). However the driving force behind the parish has always been the parishioners, who continue selflessly to give of their time and energy in countless ways.