St Alban’s Church

Posted on

st albanSt Alban the Martyr
Alban, a Roman soldier and pagan, escaped to Britain under the persecution by Emperor Diocletian. During this persecution he took pity on a Christian priest and gave him shelter in his own home.  The two spent many days talking and, moved by the holiness of the priest, Alban became a Christian.

The Roman governor of the city, hearing a rumour that a priest was hiding in the house of Alban, sent a search party of soldiers to find him. Alban saw them approaching and disguised himself as the priest.  He was arrested and brought before the governor.  When the governor discovered it was in fact Alban and not the priest, he was furious and ordered him to denounce Christ, threatening the torture prepared for the priest. Alban refused and when asked his name replied, “I am called Alban by my parents, and I worship and adore the true and living God, who created all things.”

He continually refused to denounce Christ and was sentenced to be beheaded.  Crowds of people followed as Alban climbed the hill to the place of execution. When they arrived, the executioner threw down his sword and refused to perform his office. He said that if he were not allowed to take Alban’s place then he would share his martyrdom and they faced death together.

The priest, on hearing what had happened hurried to the court in the hope of saving Alban but it was too late. The priest also died a martyr that day and a church was erected on the hill.

The feast of St Alban is celebrated on June 20th.

In the late 19th, early 20th century, the people of Pelaw had to travel a distance to celebrate Mass. Mainly this would be to St Patrick’s, Felling or, by ferry across the river Tyne, to Walker.  As the population grew so did the need for a parish of their own where they could celebrate Mass together.  Over many years, the community of Pelaw made great sacrifices to raise funds to enable them to build their own church. The foundation was eventually laid by Bishop Joseph Thorman on Easter Monday, 1926 and the community began celebrating Mass together in the school hall.

In 1937 parish priest, Fr McLeary bought a church from Marie Reparatrice convent in Newcastle and the church was transported by horse and coal cart to Pelaw.  The first Mass was celebrated on 30 September 1937 by Bishop Joseph Mc Cormack and permission was granted for the very first Nuptial Mass in 1939. It took a further 20 years to build a presbytery but sadly by the late 1960s, time had taken its toll on the church and it needed to be replaced.

In 1972 a modern structure, that we have today, was erected at a cost of £57,000.Bishop Hugh Lindsay celebrated the opening with the community on 9 November 1972. A celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Church was held on June 9th 2012.

Here are some images of our beautiful church.