St Annes Catholic Church BUXTON
Tel 01298 23777

Phil Rod and Cardinal Bo

Rod and Phil with Cardinal Bo (keynote speaker at Brightlights)

EUCHARIST CELEBRATIONS (normally) - - - Saturday 7.00pm, - - - Sunday 10.00am - - - Polish Community Saturday 5.00pm

Readers rota 2017 (23kb)
Cashiers rota (165kb)

IF YOU ARE IN URGENT NEED OF A PRIEST  Contact Canon Bowdren, St Charles Rectory, Woolley Bridge Road, Hadfield SK13 1PQ. Tel 01457 852351.

21th May, 2017

SATURDAY               5.00 p.m.     Our Polish Community
                  6.40 p.m.    Confessions
  7.00 p.m.    Margaret Slater – RIP - Celebrated by Fr Kevin 
SUNDAY(21st May)       8.40 a.m.    Confessions  
            N.B.      9.00 a.m.    Julie Derbyshire – RIP - Celebrated by Fr Kevin
      Coffee after Mass in aid of Confirmation and First Communion Groups
  9.45 a.m.    Session 5 for our First Communion Group also
 meeting for First Communion parents at 9.45 a.m. in the Parish Centre.

OFFERTORY   13th/14th May  –  £511.01p.  Many, many thanks

MONDAY            10-11.00 a.m.    An hour of quiet, private prayer.
In today’s Gospel (John 15:16 16-4) Jesus talks about “the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father”. This makes us aware of how important it is to be truthful if we want to be close to God.  Do we always speak in “The Spirit of truth”?

                7-9.00 p.m.    Session 8 for our Confirmation Group

WEDNESDAY          10.00 a.m.    Mass celebrated by Fr Gerry

THURSDAY     2-3.00 p.m. Prayer Service conducted by the Bishop to celebrate the life of Father Higgins at Saint Anne’s School and blessing of the new extension.

FRIDAY            10.00a.m.    Mass celebrated by Fr Gerry
            Sponsored Walk from Wyedale to Bakewell for Retired Priests Appeal

SATURDAY              5.00 p.m.     Our Polish Community
  7.00 p.m.    Agnes Holland - RIP  

SUNDAY(28th May)     10.00 a.m.    People of the Parish
Coffee after both Saturday and Sunday Masses 27th and 28th May, in the Parish Centre to welcome Fr Gerry.

WELCOME  This week we give a very warm welcome to Fr Gerry Murphy to St Anne’s Church as our new Parish Priest.  We wish him happiness and many blessings. 

REGISTER OF MARRIAGES  Do we have anyone who would be willing to become an ‘appropriate person’ to assist the Parish Priest during Marriage services?  This would be to help in the registering of the marriage, including completion of official documents.  Ideally two ‘appropriate persons’ required.  Please contact Fr Gerry on Buxton 23777 or Margaret Swift 01298 23527 or 

RETIRED PRIESTS APPEAL (RPA) SPONSORED WALK  The RPA has arranged diocese church-based fundraising walks.  John and Gillian Fernandez arrive at our Church on 25 May from Chapel at 5pm.  On 26th May, they walk from Wyedale to Bakewell.   Parishioners who wish to contribute by sponsored walking to Bakewell can get forms from Paul Glover - 26927.  

PRAYER SERVICE  - Thursday, 25th May 2-3pm, Prayer Service conducted by the Bishop to celebrate the life of Father Higgins at St Anne’s School and Blessing of the new extension.

Churches Together In Buxton – NEWS Prayer meetings to take place on the Last Friday of each month at Chapter & Verse on the Market Place from 8-9pm. 

HIGH PEAK FOODBANK UPDATE  The Buxton Superkitchen will now be a regular event on the last Friday of every month at the United Reform Church on Hardwick Sq East.  Serving times 5.30-7pm, open until 8.30p.m. Funded by Buxton Lyons, the Superkitchen will use perfectly edible but surplus food to produce healthy wholesome meals.  

IAN BOXALL : JESUS THE TEACHER  An exciting opportunity has arisen to listen to and question Ian Boxall from America, who has been invited by Bishop Patrick to talk on Christ in Matthew’s Gospel on 14th June  at University of Nottingham, Keighton Auditorium, University Park Campus. NG7 2QX, at 7pm.  See the poster in the Church Porch for more details.

IF YOU ARE IN URGENT NEED OF A PRIEST  Contact Canon Bowdren, St Charles Rectory, Woolley Bridge Road, Hadfield SK13 1PQ. Tel 01457 852351.


If there is anyone who doubts the efficacy of having a Parish Council, they need only look at this account of the past 18 months of St Anne’s Parish, Buxton.

In December 2015 Fr Dennis Higgins, our Parish Priest, was suddenly taken into hospital.  The Parish council convened an emergency meeting and took action. The immediate priority was to notify High Peak Deanery and arrange for a priest to cover the weekend Masses.  Fr Kevin Gradwell recently ordained, filled the breach.  He managed to say Mass at three churches every Saturday and Sunday and the Christmas Masses until Fr Dennis was well enough to take over again. It was decided to reduce the services having one Mass midweek and opening the church for one hour of private prayer on Mondays.  

Margaret S. Chairperson of the council and Sue H. a retired GP member, visited Father in hospital; despite being so ill, Fr Dennis was mentally alert and took a keen interest in the arrangements.  Sue H. liaised with the doctors and found Father would not be discharged home until January 2016. 

In order to facilitate the smooth running of the Parish during Father’s absence, a working knowledge of procedure and the day-to-day business of the Parish were necessary.  It became obvious that what was needed was a comprehensive plan with named personnel responsible for each part, which could be brought into use in the absence of a Parish Priest.  After a great deal of discussion, Margaret S. formulated a plan, a copy of which would be kept in the Sacristy, so that anyone in difficulty would have a name and phone number to contact for help.  

The plan had 12 main headings:
Communication; Property; Liturgy; Evangelisation; Education; Safeguarding; Formation; Social; Outreach; Churches Together; Catechetics; Contingency.
Each category was sub-divided into different sections for example Property was subdivided into Church, House, Grounds, Parish Centre.
For example, CHURCH – covered the building itself, furnishings, liturgical vessels, vestments, altar cloths etc., where each item was located and the person responsible for its upkeep.  Five key holders were also named to ensure the church was open for services and securely locked afterwards.

Communication was important so at every Mass, Margaret S. addressed the congregation to report on Father’s progress, inform about the past week’s affairs and outlined what was needed to be done in the week ahead.  A weekly bulletin was composed by Angela D. and printed on the Mass sheet. The two Youth contacts on the Council kept the schools informed and Robert A. updated the Parish website.  Margaret S. and Sue H. also liaised every week with Canon Bowdren, High Peak Deanery.

Father Dennis was not discharged home until January 2016, he resumed all duties but at a reduced rate.  During this period the Parish held a First Communion service for 20 children and Bishop Patrick confirmed 12 candidates, both ceremonies were a great success.

However in May, Father Dennis was sent to hospital but discharged to care at home.  Locum priests covered the services.   Father needed more support but was determined to carry on.  The Parish Council meetings were moved into his house so that he could take part, albeit in a wheelchair latterly.  A gardening team led by Mary R. was organised to keep the grounds in good order and a buildings team, overseen by Peter S., dealt with repairs, mainly in the Community Centre.

In October, Father Dennis was taken to hospital again, now seriously ill; however he found life on a noisy hospital ward too stressful.  The hospital medical team agreed that he could be treated at home.  Sue H. arranged for a Community Care Agency, Buxton Rehabilitation Team and the District Nurses to be involved and organised a rota of 14 parishioners, mainly retired nurses and carers, to sit with Father so he would never be left alone.  Various parishioners provided meals for him. 

The Parish was very grateful to Mgr. Dazeley for coming out of retirement to cover the weekend Masses over this period.  Bishop Patrick visited and insisted Father retired as Parish Priest but could still continue to live in the house.

In the lead up to Christmas, a meeting of Readers and Eucharistic Ministers was arranged to plan the Christmas services.  On Christmas Eve the congregation was delighted to see Father Dennis on the altar in a wheelchair to take part in the Christmas Masses with his friend Father Gerry Murphy.

During all this period, Margaret S. co-ordinated all the Council’s tasks, liaised with visiting priests, dealt with all the bookings for the Community Centre and answered numerous enquiries requesting help and advice.  Margaret’s husband Ken set the alarms and checked the house and church buildings and made all secure every night.
On the 14th January the Parish Council organised a Birthday celebration for Fr Dennis, he appreciated it but could not eat much by this time and was now confined to bed.  Unfortunately his condition continued to deteriorate and Father died on 20th January 2017.

Anybody who has had a bereavement in the family will appreciate just how difficult, time consuming and exhausting the necessary arrangements can be.  As Fr Dennis only had one close relative, an elderly brother, it meant the Parish Council was involved from the start.  Margaret S. liaised with Bishop Patrick and the Deanery regarding the reception of Father’s body into the church and the Funeral Service. Sister Bernadette and her family also gave invaluable advice and support during this period. This was the chance for the Parish to say farewell and the church was packed to overflowing. Canon Bowdren, the Dean, was the chief Celebrant, and Father Greg Tobin gave an inspiring homily, with the church choir in fine voice.  The children’s choir of St Anne’s Primary School stood by Father’s coffin and sang his favourite song ‘I was born under a wandering star’.  It was an emotional moment to see the great respect shown to Fr Dennis by the children in singing the song which was Father’s ‘party piece’ and which he enjoyed performing at many church social occasions.

The Parish Council social group led by Esther K. organised a reception to follow in the Community Centre with a tremendous amount of food donated by parishioners.  Everybody was glad of the opportunity to meet and share memories of Fr Dennis and to welcome his brother and family to the Parish.

The funeral next day was to celebrate Fr Dennis’s life as a priest.  Bishop Patrick officiated at the Requiem Mass with 40 priests in attendance.  It was a very moving Requiem Mass with the choir led by Clare O’N.  Many other churches in the town also sent representatives. There was not enough room in the church for all who wanted to attend and so the service was relayed outside via a loudspeaker and people gathered there once the church was full.  Fr Gerry Murphy gave the homily, recounting his friendship with Fr Dennis from his seminary days. Fr Dennis was buried at the side of the church as he had requested.  The Social Group again helped at the following reception in the Community Centre which was provided by outside caterers.  Several hundreds of people were catered for over the course of the day. 

During the following weeks the house was cleared and made ready for the next Parish Priest.  The PPC helped to ensure that rooms were spring cleaned, the lounge decorated and the curtains and carpets cleaned.
The week after Father died, part of the wall to the car park had collapsed and needed to be rebuilt.
It was decided on advice from the diocese to rebuild the wall to the car park at an estimated cost of £40,000 which included external drain work and skip hire.  An appeal for extra donations was made and at a later date a loan for the remainder was obtained from the diocese.  Peter S. supervised the work for the Parish Council which took three weeks to complete.

All was now ready for the next Parish priest to move in.  He will have a lovely church, house and gardens with a smooth running Community Centre.  Above all, he will inherit a Parish Council well able to take on any aspect of running a Parish with a fully functioning Parish Plan to implement it.

Dennis Philip Higgins 1932 - 2017

Dennis Philip Higgins
Born 14 January 1932 Nottingham Parents: Ivy and William Higgins Brother: Arnold Higgins, married to Christine. 

Education: Primary School, Nottingham Grammar School, Nottingham   Work Experience.

Studied for the Priesthood: St Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham Ordained Priest, 05 July 1972, at Holy Cross, Hucknall.

Assistant Priest: St Anne's, Ratcliffe on Trent, 1972 - 1973 Our Lady of Lourdes, Hackenthorpe, 1973 - 1977 St Bernadette's, Ashby, Scunthorpe, 1977 - 1980 St Patrick's Leicester, 1980 - 1985

Parish Priest: St Gregory's, Silby, 1985 - 1987 St Anne's, Buxton 1987 - 2017
" While appearing in the Clergy Review, I introduced the clergy chorus line - dancers, by rendering, "I was born under a   wandering star". As the dancers were awaiting their cue, they debated as to whether I would begin in the right key. I never did, until I got to "wheels were made for rollin'...   However my good friend, Father John Formby, assured me that I did have one thing in common with Jesus; He was born under a wandering star! The rest of the cast unanimously agreed. I have long since wondered why. Perhaps my star came to a halt in 1954 when I became a member of the Catholic Church. Having been reluctantly persuaded by my Parish Priest, to become sacristan to the local church, or he would be saddled with "another". I first realised some of the difficulties priests would have to endure.

In 1962, I decided there must be more to life than making money. I found myself in Aberystwyth, embarking on a two year course of Latin and Humanities. My second year saw me being virtually head cook and bottle washer, along with "holding the prior's hand" whenever the cooks decided to leave. This was an invaluable experience. In 1964, I entered Grove Park, a starter year, before going to St Mary's College, Oscott. From a group of twenty students, we literally knocked together a Football Team to beat an Oscotian Eleven, the first time ever! Drawing the short straw, I had to be the first up each morning and go round to wake the others with " Benedicamus Domino". On feast days, I had to sing it! After the next two years in Oscott, I decided to take two years off. This proved to be quite fortutious; when I returned, the whole procedure had changed. no longer was it a case of what sort of priest you are going to be, but rather asking the question, "what sort of priest are you going to be?"  That was not the end of it all.

Forty years later, I still find myself wandering and wondering. There are still questions to be asked and answered. So there you are. Now should there be any chaps out there wandering and wondering, give it a go. As Father Dandia SJ said to me, " Don't worry, if God wants you as a priest , you will be a priest." Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

D P Higgins, from his 
Ruby Jubilee of Ordination 05 July 2012

Link to video download  "I was born under a   wandering star".


The History of St Annes Roman Catholic Church, Terrace Road, BUXTON
Image 1

    In 2011, the Catholic Parish Church of Saint Anne in Buxton celebrated its 150th anniversary. However, the parish itself dates back to medieval times. Until the Reformation the parish was centred at the Well Chapel, near to the Crescent. This was closed in 1538 by Thomas Cromwell. Until the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829,(See note below) Catholics could not build churches for public celebrations. The few remaining Catholics in the area met in various private houses on spring Gardens, West Road and High Street.
In the twenty years between 1850 and 1870 the number of parishioners grew from sixty to over two hundred. Most of the new parishioners were Irish immigrants who came to work, first on the building of the railway, and later arrivals (mostly women) to be employed in the hotel trade. The arrival of the railway helped Buxton to grow as a tourist venue.
In 1852, as a temporary measure, a chapel was opened on Scarsdale Place. By 1860 there was felt to be a need for a more substantial church building and work began on the present day church on Terrace Road. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Roskell, who returned on 16th July 1861,accompanied by the future Cardinal Manning, to open the building. The most prominent Catholic family in the area, the Grimshaws from Errwood Hall, helped to fund the building of the new church. The first parish priest for the new church, appointed in 1850, was Father Edward McGreevey. Before then Mass had been celebrated by visiting priests including Fr.O'Farrell from Leek, and Fr. Collins from New Mills.
Over time, due to the increasing population, it was felt that there would be sufficient demand for children to have a Catholic education. Father Hoeben, Parish Priest in 1885, rented a room in the old Town Hall where a small school was opened, with a Mr and Mrs Gordon as teachers. Saint Annes School moved to a new  building in Hardwick Square in 1887, with Mrs Elizabeth Gordon as the head  teacher. In 1891, the number of pupils averaged fifty-six and by 1903 the school had an average of one hundred and forty pupils. (Burton, Ivor, Education in Buxton Yesterday and Today page 6 unpublished paper Local studies Collection, Buxton Library)  The teaching staff included three Sisters of the Presentation Order, from the convent on Livesey Street in Manchester. (Kelly's Directory 1904) This community of religious sisters opened their convent in Hardwick Square in 1898, where they remained until 2005. In 1972  the school was relocated to Lightwood Road.  In 1959 a new  Catholic Secondary School dedicated to Saint Thomas More was opened on Palace Fields. The first headmaster was Mr Barton. Both schools have worked along with the church to help the Catholic Community to take its place in the town.
The Parish Centre in the old school on Hardwick Square hosts a variety of activities, from dog-obedience classes, to bridge, to Parish Council meetings and Social evenings. 
Saint Annes, therefore, continues to be a lively community. The Eucharist is celebrated in our church: Saturday 5.00pm (in Polish), Saturday 7.00pm, Sunday 10.00am.


Note to History of St Anne. Comments = There is a small mistake in your history.  It was the 1791 Second Catholic Relief ASct which allowed Catholics to build public chapels, not the 1829 Emancipation Act. In 1778 the First Relief Act allowed Mass to be said in private chapels and no longer imposed an automatic life imprisonment sentence on Catholic priests ion England; in 1791 the Second Relief Act allowed public chapels to be built. 1829 allowed Catholic to enter Parliament (both houses). Just thought you would like to have it right. ( grateful thanks to Olive Barnes via email )

Parish Audit 2014 (301kb)

St Annes Parish Priests

From 1837 Mass was celebrated in Buxton by visiting priests each week. A Father O'Farrell was named from 1848, but it was only in 1850 that the first resident priest was appointed.

Father Edward McGreevy 1850 - 1863 (ob. 22 June 1863)
Father William Margison 1863 - 1871
Father Michael O'Driscoll 1871 - 1873
Vacant 1873 - 1875
Father Joseph Reddington 1875
Father John Power 1875 - 1885
Canon John Theodore Hoeben 1885 - 1899 (ob. 11 Aug 1900)
Father Frederick Kind 1900 - 1927 (ob. 31 Mar 1927)
Father Luke A Prendergast 1928 - 1937 (ob. 29 Sept 1937)
Canon Arthur J Bird 1937 - 1941
Father John Toomey 1941 - 1942 (ob. 1 Feb 1942)
Canon Alfred Baldwin 1942 - 1956
Father Philip Morris 1956 - 1957
Father J Paul Klee 1957 - 1959
Father William McEnery 1959 - 1960
Canon David Ryan 1960 - 1967
Father Bernard Doran 1967 (probably only priest in charge)
Father Gerald Collins 1967 - 1971
Father Joseph Duggan 1971 - 1977
Father Andrew Murdoch 1977 - 1978
Father Paul Cullen 1978 - 1987
Father Dennis Higgins 1987 - 2017

LAUDATO SI (1003kb)

Places of worship in and around Buxton (147kb)