St Mary Magdalene
1967 - A New Parish Priest
Fr Patrick Connolly took over as parish priest of St Francis de Sales and St Mary Magdalene on 13th October, 1967. He was previously only the second resident priest of the parish of St Bede's in Newport Pagnell, a scattered parish that extended as far as Roade, a village north of Milton Keynes. Fr Connolly had been there for almost seven years and had been a priest for over 19 years.

Fr Wilf Johnson, who was advised of his impending move whilst on pilgrimage to Lourdes in France, had been the parish priest in Wolverton since 1954. He moved to Wellingborough where the parish priest had recently died.

Fr Wilf was credited with an "energetic reorganisation" of the parish, including the building of St Mary Magdalene church in Stony Stratford to serve the west side of the parish.

At St Francis de Sales church in Wolverton, he built on to it a porch and an octagonal baptistry so as to give additional interior seating. He also made improvements in the Sanctuary furnishings and re-sited the Lady Altar.

The interior of St Francis de Sales church in Wolverton. This church was built in 1867. It is smaller than St Mary Magdalene church.
Although St Mary Magdalene church is difficult to see until you are in front of it, this is because it is set back from the road to comply with a ruling by the then Ministry of Town and Country Planning that all new constructions in the High Street of Stony Stratford were to be built 40 feet back from the pavement. The buildings either side are built right up to the pavement and are listed buildings.

Fr Connolly would have liked it to be set even further back so that a bigger garden could be laid out at the front, as the church's land goes back quite a long way from the road. Unfortunately, it is not possible to move it!

St Francis de Sales is even harder to find. It is difficult to see from the main road because it is hidden behind a high wall and has the presbytery in front. The entrance is off Radcliffe Street to the side of the church.

The original altar in St Mary Magdalene church. It is obviously a lot simpler in design than that in St Francis de Sales church, shown above. Each one has its own attractions.

The altar in St Mary Magdalene church has since been replaced by a marble altar but that also has a simple design, which suits the clean lines of the church.