We are very fortunate at Holy Innocents' Catholic Primary School to have such close links with the parish of Holy Innocents' which is just over the road from the school.
Pupils and staff attend Mass at the Church at the start and end of term and on Holy Days of Obligation. Parents and Parishioners are always welcome to join us in these celebrations.
The history of Holy Innocents are the education of young people goes back a very long way. Holy Innocents' school was originally called St. Anne's Primary School established in 1954. Before that, St. Anne's was an orphanage for girls. Another orphanage for boys called St. Joseph's stood on the other side of the original Holy Innocents Chapel which stood roughly where the school car park is today.
Today, Holy Innocents' is a vibrant parish and we are very fortunate to have excellent links. To find out more visit their website.
A Brief History of the Parish
Father Michael Phelan, 1955-1984
Father Michael Phelan attended St John’s seminary in Wonersh, Surrey in 1932 and was ordained in 1938. He served as curate at Morden for a short time until appointed assistant to Father Healy at the Rescue Society. After the end of the war Father Phelan was moved to Worthing where he served as curate until 1955 when he was appointed Priest in Charge at Holy Innocents'. With Mr Bingham Towner as architect, he built a new Presbytery at the far side of the car park behind the church which, when the land at Orpington was later sold by the Diocese, was purchased by the Sisters of Mercy and is now St Anne's Convent.
Canon John McNamara, 1984 to 1990
Canon John McNamara was appointed Parish Priest of Holy Innocents' by Archbishop Michael Bowen in 1984 to succeed Father Michael Phelan. He wrote about his own time in the parish: "The first concern was to clear the debt on the recently built new church. The response from parishioners was remarkable and it was cleared within about three years. We soon instituted lay ministers of Holy Communion to be followed latterly by the ordination of two married Deacons, the Reverends Austin Martin and James Burleigh. We also recruited a team of hospital visitors who were most helpful and popular with patients. There was, and still is, a vibrant sense of openness and community in the congregation." Sadly Canon John had to relinquish his role due to ill health, but he now lives in the parish and remains a much-loved and respected member of our parish community.
More about Canon John McNamara
Canon John Watts, 1991 to 2008
Canon John Watts was ordained in the parish of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Addiscombe, in 1972. His first two curacies were at Whitstable and Camberwell. In 1978 he was appointed to St. John's Seminary, Wonersh where he taught for the next thirteen years. In 1991 he was appointed Parish Priest to Holy Innocents’, Orpington. The following year he became the Director of the Permanent Diaconate Programme for the Diocese. This is a post he held until June 2004. In November 2004 Archbishop MacDonald appointed him Dean of the Bromley Deanery. He also served on the Chapter of Canons, as Canon Penitentiary; he was the Chairman of the Council of Priests and an Advocate of the Southwark Tribunal.