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Church celebrates 150 years since first mass in Kilburn fields

PUBLISHED: 13:42 04 March 2015 | UPDATED: 13:43 04 March 2015

Mayor of Camden Cllr Lazzaro Pietragnoli visited Sacred Heart Church for their 150th Anniversary celebrations. Picture: Polly Hancock

Mayor of Camden Cllr Lazzaro Pietragnoli visited Sacred Heart Church for their 150th Anniversary celebrations. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Catholic West Hampstead parishioners kicked off celebrating 150 years of their church, championing its work in integrating immigrants into the area.

A special mass took place at the Sacred Heart Church in Quex Road on Saturday, joined by the Mayor of Camden Lazzaro Pietragnoli.

It marked the arrival of Father Robert Cooke on February 1, 1865, who stepped off a bus outside the nearby Cock Tavern and, confronted by what were then green fields, conducted what was said to be the first mass in the area since the Reformation of the church.

Just five people knelt with him, but it was the beginning of the church that stands there today.

Fr Michael O’Connor, a priest at Sacred Heart, said: “It has a long history as an immigrant church, welcoming people into the area and helping them integrate. In the 50s and 60s, it was a place where many Irish immigrants came, so many we would hold 14 masses on Sundays. It’s changed dramatically since then. We serve about 34 different nationalities now.”

A number of events celebrating the anniversary are to take place throughout the year.

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