Archbishop Bernard Longley’s visit

Olton Parish, Church of Holy Ghost and Mary Immaculate, will extend a warm welcome to His Grace, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham on Thursday January 16th.

We will hold a special mass at 7:00pm followed by a meal in the hall to celbrate the transfer of ownership of Olton Friary from the Archdiocese of Birmingham to Olton Parish.

A brief history:

The site at Olton was originally acquired by Bishop William Bernard Ullathorne in 1871. A seminary was designed by Edward Joseph Hansom. The foundation stone was laid in 1872 and the college officially opened on October 2 1873. It was dedicated to Ullathorne's patron saint, St Bernard, and Reverend Edward Isely (1838-1926) was chosen to run the school.

In 1888 Reverend Edward Ilsley became the new bishop of Birmingham and in 1889 St Bernard’s was deemed too small to meet the requirements of the seminary college.
The Olton site was sold to the Capuchin Franciscans, with the former seminary school becoming the Franciscan Monastery of the Immaculate Conception. It was run as the Capuchin study house until about 1975.

In 1890 a cemetery was consecrated in the land to the south.
Originally a temporary public chapel was formed in the attached enclosed walkway.
Later George Bernard Cox of Harrison and Cox, Birmingham was enlisted to design a new church attached to the west of the friary. The church’s foundation stone was blessed by Archbishop McIntyre on 21 April 1926. It was opened by Archbishop Williams on 12 November 1929.

On January 8 1981 the Capuchin Friars left and the church was taken over by the Sacred Heart Congregation, the Society of the Sacred Heart of Betharram.

2019 The Church ownership was transferred from the Archdiocese of Birmingham to Olton Parish.