In the heart of Deptford High Street among the bustling market stalls and mix of ethnic local businesses lie a church that is set back from the high street. The church name is Our Lady of the Assumption, one of the 176 Roman Catholic parishes in archdiocese of Southwark.
Our Lady of the Assumption started life as a mission in 1842 in Deptford led by Father William Marshall who was also its first pastor. The establishment of a new mission was in response to the growing Irish Catholics who moved there to work on the dockyards, the railways and shipbuilding yards. The first chapel was set up in school buildings which and served the community until 1844 when Canon Richard North, a priest at Greenwich, designated a site where a permanent building could be erected. The design of the church in Gothic Revival style is also credited to Canon Richard North.
In modern times, Deptford has seen a change in its social fabric as the immigrant community comprising of mainly Africans and Asians congregated in the area. The majority of the faithful come from African nations. We have Indians, Vietnamese and Chinese in the mix.
The parish commnunity thrives to present the image of a true family, where everybody is given the opportunity to belong. Our diversity in nationalities and cultures is the source of our strength and these create and environment for us to sincerely share our differences with one another. Following from the the mandate of Our Lord “Go, therefore, make dicisples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 28:19), we embark on a mission that is apostolic in character and inclusive in nature. We strive to become a more witnessing community to the love and mercy of God.
Our spirit of oneness enables us to be aware of the needs of the sick and elderly, the lonely and vulnerable, the aggrieved and lasped young adults and single parents. We aim to build a closely knit parish community where we care for each other. Beyond the boundaries of our Catholic faith, we strive to accommodate people of other faiths and political leanings. Young people are the hope of the future. We strive to develop programmes suitable to their pattern of life that enables them to integrate into parish life.
Families form the nucleus of parish life; we strive to reach out to families to support parents in maintaining and upholding those rich family values and in the upbringing of their children.
The parish school, St. Joseph, provides the avenue of engaging our children. In our pastoral drive to participate in their formation, we strive to collaborate with all those charged with their formation.
Given the multicultural nature of our environment, we are aware of the unique needs of migrants. We strive to be more supportive in attending to their overall needs and their efforts to integrate into the wider community. While we are concerned about the future of the parish as a result of decline in vocation and number of parishionerrs, we resign ourselves to the ver powerful intercession of Our Lady of the Assumptio