The church of Ss Peter and Paul was opened on the 29th June, 1967, the feast of Saints Peter & Paul, but it's story really begins on the far side of the city, along Upper St John Street. It was here in 1802 that Father John Kirk purchased a plot of land and with the funds he had raised by a written appeal, commissioned the building of Holy Cross chapel and presbytery.
The church of Holy Cross was opened in November 1803, and Fr Kirk remained in charge up till his death in 1851. During this time he was assisted by two priests; Father Kelly, who served in 1826 and left in 1829 to begin a mission in Tamworth, and then in 1842 Fr Joseph Parke, who succeeded him on his death. In the census of 1841, Kirk records the chapel had been extended and a bell tower added in 1834 and that his then regular congregation was about 60 communicants, most of whom he described as being yew poor.
In the l860 a church school “as opened and this was officially recognized as St Joseph’s by the Education Department in 1875. A new schoolroom was built at the rear of the church in 1899, to accommodate 100 pupils on the school roll. This classroom remained in use up to the 1960s, when St Joseph’s school moved to it’s present site along Cherry Orchard. The next parish development was the opening of a small chapel, Our Lady of Victories, at Whittington Barracks, in 1914. Fr Rowan, the priest at the time, became the Catholic chaplain, and his successors followed suit up until 1993, when the chapel was closed and sadly demolished.
With a growing parish congregation, a second Catholic primary school was built alongside the new church taking the same name as its neighbour, Ss Peter & Paul and opening in September 1972. A new Catholic secondary school, St Francis of Assisi, had also opened in Aldridge and many of the parish children go onto school there.
By the 1990s the numbers attending Sunday mass at the two churches had increased to 700, and with more housing development planned for the south side of the city, the parish is beginning to consider how to cater hopefully for still more Catholics resident in the area.
More information about the history of the Catholic Church in Lichfield may be obtained from Gerard Wilcox at firstname.lastname@example.org