Rapidly rising attendances, often resulting in parishioners having to stand, especially on holy days, have required extensive rebuilding of the church.
When the church of Mary Immaculate and St Gregory the Great re-opens next spring – hopefully by May at the latest – seating capacity will have been increased from 240 to 340.
The church – or St Gregs as it is known to parishioners – had to be rebuilt in the 1970s after being almost destroyed in a fire in 1973 in an infamous local case of arson.
The site in Union Street was purchased for a church in 1853, and the church was enlarged in 1878.
Although many parishioners have appreciated the light and airy interior of the current church building, consecrated in 1977, it has been a struggle in recent years to accommodate all those attending the Saturday evening mass and the four Sunday masses.
Often on holy days there has been quite a crush and some parishioners were left crowding around the entrance.
The extension will create a new front door with an additional seating area and gallery above.
Following the delivery of the beams required for the roof, work on the extension has speeded up.
On Christmas Eve the 4.30pm and 6.30pm children’s vigil mass, including nativity story and the 10pm vigil mass during the night, will be in Ewen Hall, Wood Street United Reform Church.
The Christmas Day 8am, 9.30am and 11.15 am mass will be in the existing parish hall, using the Stapylton Road entrance. For details of dates and places for services while the church building is closed go to www.parish.rcdow.org.uk/barnet
And for more information on the development see https://parish.rcdow.org.uk/barnet/our-new-extension/