Parish History

The Greyfriars

The Greyfriars in Great Britain & Ireland have been rendering life-giving service to the people through our parish ministry. As in many parts of the world, parish ministry still remains a very significant apostolate of the friars in Britain and Ireland. Our churches are centres of Christian spirituality, liturgical worship and specialised pastoral activity stemming from our Conventual charism.

Our Parish Ministry is strengthened by the Primary Apostolate of our Vowed Life: "To live the Gospel among people in charity and poverty, in simplicity and humility as followers of St. Francis."  (Constitutions 121.2)

Not all of our communties are parishes, and across the custody our friars are undertaking all kinds of varied ministries and apostolates, meeting the needs of any particular place at a particular time. In essence, you'll find us wherever we're most needed. There is no typical Conventual Franciscan community, every friary, every parish, and every friar for that matter is quite unique and brings different gifts to the Conventual family across Britain & Ireland.

The Greyfriars in Mossley Hill

In 1923, the Franciscan Conventuals were offered a new parish in the Mossley Hill section of the city of Liverpool.

The friars in Liverpool have always been ardent in promoting education, knowing well that it has the power to transform people and the lives they live. The Conventuals have always emphasised that virtue and learning are the two pillars of human dignity and that both are wonderful forms of worship.

The original temporary church of St. Anthony’s was dedicated by the Archbishop of Liverpool on 7th November 1926, the centenary year of the death of St. Francis. Six years later, in 1932, which also marked the twenty-fifth year of the return of the Friars to England after the Reformation, the present new church was blessed and consecrated. The Minister General sent his special Seraphic Blessings expressing the joy and delight of the entire Order on that auspicious occasion. Along with the Papal and General's Blessings, messages were also sent from the great Basilicas of the Order, Assisi and Padua, whose patrimony the new church was to share.

St. Anthony’s is a solid, dignified and artistic church. Lerario’s magnificent rending of the Last Supper above the main altar is so touching that it elevates the spirit of every worshiper. The same Italian artist's works adorn the rest of the sanctuary and other shrines in the church. The St. Anthony’s altar on the left aisle is decorated with scenes from the saint’s life painted in a capturing style. On the opposite end is the altar of Our Lady, Queen and Protectress of the Franciscan Order. St. Anthony’s adjoining primary school helps to educate the young children of the neighbourhood.

St. Anthony’s Friary, Liverpool, shares the same historical heritage as that of the church. The Friary served as the Novitiate House of the English Province from 1947-1955. At various times since its canonical establishment St. Anthony's in Liverpool served as the curia for the central administration of the Order in Britain and Ireland.

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