Half a mile away from SS Peter and Paul`s is St Aidan`s Benton. I am also responsible for this church as moderator of the cluster which also includes St Teresa`s, Heaton where, mercifully, the church is looked after by Fr Kellett, the parish priest. Father shares the weekend Masses at St Aidan`s with me. St Aidan`s is the oldest of the parishes I run, being founded in 1906. The area is middle class. For many years there was a temporary church until the present building was put up in the early 1960`s. It was built as the church hall but for reasons I don`t yet understand the church was never built and the hall was converted a church. It is a building of little charm. Recently I had occasion to show the church to two local Anglican clergymen. The younger said " Oh you Romans do things so well!. This confused me somewhat and I wondered whether he was being serious! The other expressed an interest in the sanctuary bells and the newly-acquired gong in such a way that I thought here was someone who talked the same language!
The parish has a good attendance. The previous, very popular, parish priest, Fr Kennedy, established a 5pm Saturday vigil Mass which is always packed with people standing who can`t get a seat. When he took over the parish the Mass attendance was very low whereas Ss Peter and Paul`s was a thriving parish. Whether it was the introduction of the 5pm Mass or the stability of tenure by Fr Kennedy while Ss Peter and Paul had a rapid turn over of parish priests, St Aidan`s has now become a well attended parish while Ss Peter and Paul`s languishes with a small congregation. St Aidan`s has no school. It suffers from a lack of young people: on a Sunday there are no altar servers although there are three at the vigil. In the picture on the right of the sanctuary is a fairly new statue of St Aidan installed for Fr Kennedy`s 40th anniversary of ordination. I only say Mass here twice a week and only since September so nothing has changed yet in the liturgy except that I bought the Luzar starter kit of Gothic chasubles as the vestments on offer did not appeal very much. There is potential for improved music as at present Masses consist of four hymns. The Sunday organist used to run a good choir at St Teresa`s Heaton until 1993 when it was axed but he unfortunately appears very reluctant to try any Gregorian chant now.