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Hammersmith Centenary: Ever Ancient, Ever New

The parish of St Augustine’s, Hammersmith, celebrated their centenary on 9 October with Mass presided by the Augustinian Cardinal Prospero Grech followed by a party.

In 1902, Cardinal Vaughan asked the Augustinian Friars to fill a missionary gap in west London to serve primarily the large number of Irish immigrants living and working in the Hammersmith area. By 1903 a small church was erected on the site of the current church on Fulham Palace Road, and by 14 October 1916, the church, as it stands today, was formally opened by Cardinal Bourne.

Such was the need for a Catholic church in Hammersmith that, in September 1961, the apse was opened to extend the church into a hall behind the altar owing to a regular Mass attendance of 6,000 on Sunday. On 3 April 1915 The Tablet covered the blessing of the foundation stone, where Cardinal Bourne ‘prayed that the church might be the centre of spiritual life and the source of blessings to Catholics who lived in that district, and to those who should be brought to embrace the faith by their means.’

In this centenary year, the parish will begin building works for an ambitious regeneration of the site and continue the very work that Cardinal Bourne prayed for so many years ago.

Parish Priest, Fr Gianni Notarianni explained that: ‘This is not a nostalgia trip. When we recognise God’s presence in the past, we are assured that he will continue to shape our lives in the future. Jesus Christ is, as St Augustine described, “ever-ancient and (crucially) ever new”. This year each one of us can help our church community to be faithful to the future.’