It was thanks to the arrival of Father Joseph Clemente
as Chaplain to Baylis House School
in around 1883 that St Ethelbert's
was ever built.
Over the next 17 years he
worked tirelessly on the difficult task of raising money for a church in Slough.
In a couple of years he
acquired the freehold on a plot of land on Herschel Street.
A disused warehouse and stable were converted to become the first St Ethelbert's Church
, opening for worship on 4 th November 1885.
Two sheds became the first St Ethelbert's school and a Soup Kitchen.
In 1888, Father Clemente gave up his chaplaincy at Baylis House in order to devote himself entirely to his work as priest at St. Ethelbert's.
In that same year land was bought for a new church on Curzon Street.
Work on the building eventually began in 1907, after Mother Lucie Destailleurs, superior of St. Bernard's Convent
donated sufficient funds in memory of her
The last 20 years has seen large numbers arrive from the Asian sub-continent, the Philippines, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, and all have played a part in enriching the worship and prayer life of St Ethelbert's and continuing that caring ethos advocated so strongly by Father Clemente.
Father Clemente, who had been appointed Chaplain at Baylis House in 1882, and had established the Roman Catholic Chapel in Herschel Street in 1885, was instrumental in having a school built next to the chapel, and fronting on Victoria Street, in 1886, with a large donation from the Dowager Duchess of Buccleuch, of Ditton Park, who had been converted to Roman Catholicism. (21) The school opened with 25 children.
It must have been a wonderful two days for the Parish Priest, Father Joseph Clemente
from Bari in Southern Italy.
Two and half years beforehand at Midnight Mass in 1907 Father Clemente
had been able to announce that the project of building the church would be going ahead thanks to the generosity of the Lady Superior of the Bernadine Sisters who had made a large donation in memory of her
What a joy this would be for Fr. Clemente
and for all the priests who have served this parish.
Built with faith, hope and love by Father Clemente
and that early community one hundred years ago, may the faith, hope and love of the community of the church today continue to be the soul at the heart of Slough