St James RC, Ipswich
|This unassuming little
church in the poor estates of south-east Ipswich has a
very unusual history, and that it exists at all is
testimony to the work of an extraordinary man, Father
inevitably, the mass centre received parochial status,
and the new parish of St James was carved out of the
parish of St Pancras. Unfortunately, there was
insufficient money available to build a new church, so
the hall was reordered as a church, and a new hall built
to the side of it. Suffolk has several former churches
that have been converted into use as social halls, but
this is one of the few churches that has undergone the
Unassuming, yet a testimony to a remarkable man.
Father Sweeney retired back to his beloved Ireland in 1979. The church still has a rather unusual relationship to the rest of Catholic East Anglia a later priest, Tom Fenlon, is not a diocesan priest at all, but a missionary priest of the Society of African Missions.
And today, this is a trim little building, well-kept and well-used. It stands at the other end of Landseer Road from its Anglican counterpart All Hallows, and these two rather undistinguished little buildings are, I suppose, lavished with as much love by their parishioners as any of Suffolk's grander churches.
St James has its own website.
Photograph of Joseph Sweeney copyright of Diocese of East Anglia.
St James, Landseer Road, Ipswich, is usually kept locked, but the key is always available from the presbytery beside the church. The number 2 bus from central Ipswich stops outside.