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Why the Church was built

(Bedfordshire Times – 6th March 1959)

Christ The King Parish in the 50s

Almost on the borough boundary, at the junction of Mile Road and London Road, stands the Roman Catholic church of Christ the King. It is a small building, a dual purpose hall erected some five years ago, and it stands away from the road in the corner of a large site which also contains the presbytery. Some indication of the popularity of this Roman Catholic cause is that it was here, for the first time in this tour of the Bedford churches, I was at a service where there were not enough seats and the people were standing at the back of the church. True there are only two hundred seats, but this was only one of three Masses held that day, and at all of them, the Parish Priest (Father J. Galvin) tells me, it is the same. Some 600 come to Mass each Sunday.

This extract from the Bedfordshire Times indicated quite clearly the need for a new and larger building. Work began within months of its printing.

How the Church was paid for

Fr. James Galvin was the greatest influencing factor in all aspects concerned with raising the finances and with the planning and administration of the project.
Parochial involvement to raise the finance consisted of a door-to-door collection, where parishioners contributed whatever they could, also the “buy a brick” for half-a-crown scheme, Sunday evening dances in the Hall and the fete. Soon the finances were at a suitable stage to progress with the building although Fr. Galvin had a difficult job to persuade the architect to leave the interior showing the delicate brick rather than whitewashing the walls.
The first landmark was the laying of the foundation stone by His Lordship Bishop Parker. Behind the foundation stone, in a wall cavity, was sealed a list of all the parishioners who had “bought a brick”. On Whit Monday, 6th June 1960, the new church was opened by Bishop Parker.