Saint Mary of the Angels and Saint Clare’s parish is built on foundations that were laid in 1853. In his Annual Report of 19th November 1853, Bishop William Turner, the first Bishop of the Salford Diocese, mentioned the formation of a Mission Chapel in Levenshulme. Originally, the parish was known as the South Manchester Mission and comprised of the districts of Levenshulme, Reddish, Heaton Norris, Withington, Longsight, Barlow Moor and Fallowfield. The chapel was built on land donated by Samuel Grimshaw Esq., and was originally one of the outbuildings of the Grimshaw Farm.
Father Thomas Unsworth was the first parish priest, appointed on 21st August 1853. The parish has since been served by many excellent and dedicated priests. The longest serving priest was Monsignor Robert Croskell (1867-1902), who gave 35 years of dedicated service.
The school was opened in 1898 and has played a central role in the Christian formation of generations of Levenshulme children.
Through the years the parish has been served by different women’s religious congregations. Sr. Elizabeth Prout and the Sisters of the Cross & Passion served the parish for a short time. The Sisters of the Good Shepherd were housed in Levenshulme Lodge in 1854. In 1871, eight Belgian Sisters of Poor Clare Colletines established a Convent in Clare Road on the site of the present primary school. The Poor Clare Sisters are part of the bone and sinew of Catholic Levenshulme. They are fondly remembered and the success and advancement of the parish is due, in no small way, to their prayers. Latterly, the Sisters of the Presentation Order and the Good Shepherd and Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph have all contributed to the spiritual life of the parish.
The ethnic mix of the parish has changed over the years; from 1850s to 1980 the parish community was drawn from native English, recently arrived Irish immigrants, Polish and Italian war refugees. Since the late 1990s to the present time our parish community has been embellished by the arrival of African and Eastern European immigrants. All this presents us with an exciting challenge of being open and welcoming to people of all ethnic backgrounds.
In1975, the present beautiful church was built; it was consecrated in 1983, less than eight years after its completion. Today, the parish boasts of a multi racial multicultural population. It still resonates with the spirit of preceding generations.
We have established strong links with the Church in Peru, Brazil and Ghana, and this outreach is commendable and life-giving.
The logo of the recent Eucharistic Congress drives us on “Community with Christ and with one another.” The various sites and links in our new website give a feel for the vibrancy of this special parish community.