St Joseph's in a period of change
Father Kelly left a parish, in his own words, "holding its own".The 1960s were to see many changes - of priests, liturgy and in the focal point of the parish, the Church of St Joseph's itself. In 1962 Father Ryan became the third priest to care for the parish, the church of St Joseph's itself. In January the Bishop of Leeds sent the new priest "some particulars of the parish" which included a Mass attendance of c220, 75 children at the school and assetts of £920. The annual income consisted of £731 from the weekly colection, £15 from the sale of candles and endowments of £114. The long-running St Patrick's dance brought in £26 but the Bishop noted that "there are no entertainments of any sort apart from the ...dance". Fr. Ryan also had seventy five foundation Masses on the Tabella.
When Father Ryan took over he had a few concerns one of which was the state of the church and accommodation to which little had been done for many years. He had some ideas as to how the presbytery might be improved but cost and the diocesan architect proved too much. Close inspection by the architect did result in an agreement that "the property is long overdue for attention".
Unfortunately Father Ryan died after 18 months service to St Joseph's and was replaced by Father Moriarty in July 1963. He had the happy task in May 1964 of presenting to Joseph Moverley the papal award of the Benemerenti.
This was in recognition of Mr Moverley's service to the church in general but in particular for his playing of the church organ which he had done with dedication for over sixty years. There is a commemorative stained glass window to Joseph Moverley on the north wall.
Repairs and renovations had begun on the church and presbytery and Fr Moriarty found "quite a number of accounts outstanding". An invoice of 1962 gives some idea of the improvements made. The boundary wall was increased in height, dry rot in the floor was dealt with, the font was refurbished and a new confessional was provided.
In the presbytery there was plumbing and electrical work with a water softener, bath and shower being provided - the total bill came to £925.15.6.There were major changes to the Liturgy during this period. Following the Vatican II, with the new importance of the laity, the Mass was to be said facing the congregation and this required more change in the interior of the church was the sanctuary having to be completely
re-designed. The old photographs show the old, ornate heavy wooden altar flanked by curtains and with a large crucifix with statues of Mary and several angels, candle sticks and flower urns. The altar was enclosed by solid wooden rails and fronted by the lines of pews - often with the surnames of parishoner families. With Vatican II and the centenary of the church in 1969 the decision was made to go for a major internal renovation.
Vatican II, of course, had a profound impact on the Universal Church as the decisions were rolled out and Fr. Moriarty worked hard to lead his flock into the new world. One of the immediate changes was an enhanced role for the laity and Fr Moriarty led the parish through a training course on the Apostolate of the Laity. Fr Moriarty was keen to emphasise that the laity were not second class members of the Church - they were not passively there waiting to be saved but were also savers of themselves and others. The main thing, he concluded in his briefing to the parish, "is to be ready to play a part which you alone can play". Old habits died hard though as Fr Moriarty had to exert much pressure to persuade volunteers to come forward to engage in activities such as reading the Epistles. Only six people had responded to the initial call - not enough for a rota.
It certainly was not that people did not generally contribute as the record of the church at this time shows a buzz of activity. There was a Parish Committee which met frequently - "new faces would be most welcome" wrote Fr Moriarty echoing the plea of every PP. There was a Ladies Meeting too - which seems to have become the Ladies Confraternity and then the UCM. Christian Education classes - later Christian Doctrine classes - were held weekly for children going to the Grammar School. There were weekly chess club, whist drives and bingo. as well as trips with the parish joining St Mary's in 1967 to visit the new Liverpool Cathedral - "Paddy's Wigwam" as it was affectionately known.
The social life of the parish had another side to it inasmuch as many activities were unashamedly fundraisers. The renovations to church and presbytery were joined by extensive renovations to the school. The six windows at the rear of the church were found to be in a poor state and needed replacing at an estimated cost of £100 ( a lot in those days). It is a measure of the generosity of both parishioners and non-catholics that a few mentions of this by Fr Moriarty resulted in each window being sponsored by individuals or families. More serious was the woodworm which attacked the floors in particular. In Summer 1966 Fr Moriarty was hopeful that a new floor would be in place by Christmas - the estimate was not far off £1000 but Fr Moriarty was not worried - he wrote, "as we have not that amount of money I am taking a plunge".
The parish was both traditional and innovative in raising money. The record is full of jumble sales, bring and buy sales coffee mornings, sales of work as well as sweepstakes on the Grand National and a complex pools project involving agents and door to door collections which had 487 St Joseph's members in 1966 and involved surrounding parishes too. It wasn't as if parishioners did not have other calls on their resources. Throughout the year there were second collections for the Pontifical Aid Society, Diocesan School Fund, Bishop's Charity Fund, new parishes, poor parishes, Priests' Training Fund, African Missions, Mill Hill Missions as well as the terrible Abeerfan disaster. At one point Fr Moriarty made a personal request to parishioners to"give something extra" and there were several reminders that the missalettes - then as now a new liturgy needed to be read and learned - were a penny each.
The St Patrick's Dance was still an important fundraiser but times were changing. In 1965 an attempt to cater for the young by having two "Pop Groups" was considered a disaster - "this was a mistake" wrote Fr Moriarty bluntly. There had been many complaints and the 1966 dance - which may have been the last - had one "pop group" and one dance band so everyone would be happy - "if that is possible" wrote Fr Moriarty in the weekly bulletin. With costs around £70 there was an energetic effort to sell tickets. (6/- each). Sales appeared slow as Fr Moriarty wrote in the bulletin "let's see then what support we get from those who were not satisfied - or were they just grumbling because they love to grumble about something".
He need not have worried as the dance was a social and financial success making a profit of £106. It is unclear if this was the last St Patrick's Dance. Certainly there continued to be parish dances at diffent times of the year and an effort to cater for the young. Young parishioners were invited to a meeting to discuss whether a dance should be held just for them. The answer was a clearly a "yes" as a dance for young people - including a "crisp eating competition" - was initiated where there would be "dancing to recorded music". However, as always, it was a major challenge to get young people involved. Fr Moriarty asked rhetorically, "and where are the young people?" wondering if they were "infected by the pagan times in (which) we happen to be living in".
Of course, the centre of a parish is its worship . During Fr Moriarty's tenure there were familiar patterns with First Friday's, 40 Hour expositions, prayers for the Dead List and Remembrance services. Children's First Communion remained a focal point. Fr Moriarty was keen to get parents to take Communion with their children - " when all is said and done it is the parents who pass on an active and meaningful faith to their children not by orders but by example".
The social and cultural changes of the 1960s do seem to have had an impact on the parish as Fr Moriarty - as the Good Shepherd he was - was constantly chiding his flock to fulfil their obligations. One Christmas he offered Confession almost on demand - "there will be no excuse on the score of impossible hours". Easter and Lent were particularly times when he made quite clear what parishioners should be doing. "The Christian", he wrote, "who does not go near the church on this day (Easter) is a pitiful creature indeed". Lenten services were generally well-attended though the Bulletin contained the opinion that "there are those who have no intention of disturbing themselves". It is a PP's job to ensure his parishioners are quite clear about the path to salvation and to try to get those who have strayed back on the straight and narrow. Fr Moriarty pulled no punches, once writing that he was certain "there are more parishioners in the public houses and youth club than at the evening services during the Lenten weeks". He need not have worried though as Holy Week was always a great and holy success. In his final year Fr Moriarty saw the fruits of his labour with an increased Easter collection and Mass attendance the highest recorded in the parish. "We are capable", he wrote in the Bulletin," of doing great things even in a small parish like St Joseph's".
The work of parishioners was recognised externally with Mr John Heneachon - a stalwart of the parish - being honoured by receiving the Maundy Money from the Queen at Selby Abbey in 1968. This recognised the voluntary work John had done for the parish and town but many parishioners will remember him as the man who kept the furnace going and the church heated - single-handed against whatever the weather could throw.
Fr Moriarty was not to see the completion of the work he had begun. In Spring 1967 he wrote to a colleague thanking him for his help and sympathy and noting the "property is now in reasonable condition". In early May though he flagged to the parish that the Bishop would be visiting with an important message - Fr Moriarty was to be moved to Barnoldswick and the destiny of St Joseph's was once more linked to Hazlewood and its new owners, the Order of Carmelites.
In 1966 Bishop Wheeler had invited the Carmelite Order to establish Hazlewood as a centre for Christian worship. In May 1967 four Carmelite priests concelebrated Mass at St Joseph's and introduced the new PP, Fr Albert Collier O.Carm..
In his last bulletin Fr Moriarty wrote simply and humbly "from me, a sincere and sad farewell, please remember me in your prayers".
The extensive renovations were largely completed by late 1967 and produced what the Wetherby News called ''an elegant yet completely unpretentious church''. The photograph of the church at its centenary shows a complete harmony of building and furnishing with the emphasis on clean simple lines and an unspoiled vista from entrance to altar - note the chandelier in the photograph below. Lighting the church was and is a constant problem.
All the heavy woodwork had been removed, as was the screen that greeted the parishioners entering the main door; the of draped curtains on either side of the altar had been removed in the early 1960s restoration. The painted stars and the angel lozenge on the vault above the altar were painted over. The old pulpit, which stood on the left of the altar, was riddled with woodworm and was removed and burned. The old baptismal font was also removed at this time.
A beautiful carved crucifix was hung on the East wall and faced the congregation across the new plain wood altar
table - made by the father of Alma Taylor, a parishioner. The crucifix and the beautiful carved Holy Family on the south wall were created by a Polish artist associated with Hazlewood. She painted the dramatic representation of the Forty Martyrs which hung behind the altar at St Leonard's.
The simple tabernacle behind the altar was donated by Fr John Hudson of Pontefract.
The church was in its full pomp for the celebration of its centenary on August 27th 1969. Bishop Wheeler, in his foreword to the centennial Mass Order of Service, wrote "in the materialistic world of our day, our faith is needed more strongly and deeply and fully than ever before" - words which have not lost their significance. Bishop Wheeler concelebrated Mass with the Most Reverend Fr Kilian Healy, Prior General of the Carmelite Order, the Most Reverend Father Kilian Lynch, Commissary General of the Anglo-Welsh Province and the new Parish Priest, Fr Collier in the presence of other priests of the diocese and Carmelite Fathers.
Bishops and Priests entered the church behind the ornate cucifix which had used in the 1869 opening to the hymn "We Greet The Lord's Anointed" and the ringing of the bell which had once hung in the wooden belfry at the west door. Readings included the Epistle of St Peter where we are reminded that we are all "a royal priesthood" in keeping with the post Vatican II emphasis on the active role of the laity. After a solemn Mass all left to the rousing "Faith of Our Fathers" as a reminder that maintaining the Catholic faith had not always been easy. After the Mass there was a buffet supper - free, unlike 1869 - in the school room next door as well as a dance for parishioners at the Wharfedale in Kirkgate. The following week a sponsored walk took place.
During the 1970s the parish remained under the care of the Carmelites and the records note requests for authoritity to spend further for repairs. In the early 1970s Father Heane noted that one side and the rear of the church were in ''a bad state'' with rising damp becoming a problem. The Diocese agreed to spend £1500 rectifying this but it was a losing battle and more redical work had to be done later.