The Parish of Saint Philip Howard was established in 1978, by splitting off from the parish of Our Lady and the English Martyrs. It was decided that since the mother parish of Our Lady and The English Martyrs celebrated two Cambridge men: St Thomas More and St John Fisher, that this new parish should echo a Cambridge connection, hence Saint Philip Howard.
The early stages of the new parish meant that the worshipping community would no longer have to use the auditorium of Saint Bede’s Catholic School (as it was then) but would have a permanent home in this new building. A great deal of team work was required and the results show now a lively and vibrant parish which has become the spiritual home to over fifty different nationalities in Cambridge.
The church was built in 1978 and designed to be used as both a church and hall. A number of modifications have taken place over the years to emphasise the religious nature of the building, the largest overhaul taking place to mark the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Parish.
An outdoor shrine to Our Lady of the Rosary was constructed and a great deal of work was carried on to build an impressive brick and wrought iron boundary around the church and presbytery. All this was done through the goodwill and generosity of so many of our parishioners who offered their services. It made a deep impression on the local community who witnessed a great gang of young and older men laying the bricks and hosts of ladies serving tea and sandwiches over a two or three weekend period.
The layout of the building itself allows for an area which is strictly religious with the Blessed Sacrament and the various Saints who represent some of the fifty-four different nationalities in our worshipping community. A dividing screen separates the worship area from the other area which during the week is used as a hall. There are kitchen facilities in this latter part along with a smaller meeting area if required.
There is access for wheelchairs and a loop system for the hearing impaired.
Other facilities include a small multi-purpose room which has glass partitioning between it and the worship area. This houses the repository which sells religious items and cards, and it can only be used by parents with small children who can see and hear the Mass without feeling conscious about their children making a noise.
Toilet facilities are also available which include baby changing facilities, and a disabled toilet.
Parking is at a premium in most parishes. We have been able to double the size of our carpark but still on big occasions such as Christmas and Holy Week we find that we too are stuck for space. We ask people to make use of the carpark at Cherry Hinton Hall, about a three minute walk from the church on these occasions.
The parish has been served by the following parish priests.
1978 – 1983 Father (now) Monsignor Anthony Rogers
1983 – 1988) Father Michael Edwards R.I.P
1988 – 1992 Father Michael Vulliamy
1992 – 1994 Father Henry MacCarthy
1994 – 1996 Father Richard White
1996 – Monsignor E.L. Harkness, OSB Obl., KHS, KStG, BA, STB, BCL, MCL, BCL, JCL