history of our church
By Davnet Barker.
The Catholic Parish of Epping, within the Diocese of Brentwood, dates back to 1932 when the Bishop of Brentwood offered the Parish to the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception (CRIC).
our church today
A presbytery and land for the original Church were purchased by a trust established by Jack Burgess, a generous benefactor, whose son had recently been ordained a CRIC. Prior to 1932 Epping Catholics travelled to Woodford or Loughton to celebrate Mass, or, when a visiting priest was available, celebrated Mass in Epping mainly in private homes.
the name of our church
The name of our Church – Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception – celebrates the Blessed Virgin Mary.
‘Immaculate’ means without sin or stain and the Immaculate Conception describes the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne.
Thanks to the tireless fundraising efforts of parishioners the present Church was built in 1954. The foundation stone of the new Church was laid on 25th June 1954 and the Church was formally blessed and opened by the Bishop on 7th December 1954.
Anne’s conception of Mary was natural, but due to God’s Grace it was without original sin or its stain. From the first moment of her existence, therefore, she was filled with the sanctifying grace which otherwise is conferred by Baptism. The Angel Gabriel alludes to this when he greets Mary with the words: ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you’ (Luke 1:28).
The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8th December and nine months later, on 8th September, the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Original interior of the new Church, opened in 1954
our stained glass panels
|And they all ate and were satisfied. Mt.15.37
||Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Jn.1.29
||When I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself. Jn.12.32
||Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body.
|This is my body, which is given for you. Lk.22.19
|The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. Jn.1.4
||Other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing. Mk.4.8
||The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Jn.6.63
||Then I ate it; and it tasted sweet as honey. Ez.3.3
||I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Rev.22.13
You can find a full history of the Parish in Towards a Dream: A History of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception, which was written by a long-standing parishioner, Davnet Barker. The book was published in 2004 to commemorate the Church’s Golden Jubilee. Here Davnet records the experience of that first Mass in 1932 in the words of Rose Doggett, one of several campaigners for a permanent site:
None of us will forget that Christmas Eve. That night there was no arranging of parties to go in taxis to Woodford or Loughton. We were going to our own Midnight Mass. The church was full. Catholics from Ongar came and many non-Catholic friends too. Our first Mass was a sung Mass, not very tuneful perhaps, but a joyful one and at the Consecration there were tears of joy. And when Father Chalumeaux [CRIC] suggested we stay for the next Mass in thanksgiving, we gladly did so, for now at last we truly felt that Our Blessed Lord was a resident of Epping.