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Fr. Conway

Fr. Robert Conway became the priest-in-charge on October 18th 1947. Fr. Conway did much to develop the social life of the parish. He organised meetings of the C.P.E.A. and established a trade union section. A youth club was formed. Dances and socials for young and old were held in the Hall of Green End Junior Girls School – the present day (in 1991) Infant School. The Youth Club organised a Parish Dance in November 1947 in Levenshulme Town Hall and Fr. Conway noted that despite the atrocious weather 170 parishioners turned up and it made £10 profit. A football sweep on "buster" was organised by Mr Daggatt and it made 30/– profit per week.

The Catholic community continued to grow in numbers, for in February 1945, Bishop Marshall on the occasion of his Parish Visitation gave permission for an extra Sunday Mass to be said. Masses were now at 8am, 9am, 10m and 11am. During his visit the Bishop remarked that St. Bernard's was the worst parish in the diocese for mixed marriages. Fr. Conway countered this charge by stating that the statistics would not be so damning if the number of marriages of St. Bernard's people which took place at St. Mary's and St. Cuthbert's were taken into account. Bishop Marshall also noted that twenty children were attending non-Catholic schools, and he asked that instruction and Benediction be arranged for them each Sunday. It was also agreed that in future all children from St. Bernard's should make their First Communion and be confirmed in St. Bernard's chapel rather than elsewhere.

In February 1948 Canon Maspero, Parish Priest of St. Mary's, asked permission for the annexe to the church to be used as a classroom for the over 14's attending St. Mary's all age school. Nothing came of this scheme though the Manchester Education Committee gave the plans its approval. The parish continued to grow. Fr. Conway noted in the Parish Log that by Easter 1948 Easter Confession: 577; Baptisms for year: 40; Converts: 1; Marriages: 11; children attending non-Catholic schools: 21.

By September 1948 all but £250 of the parish debt had been paid off. In addition St. Bernard's hard contributed £345 towards the cost of a new secondary school – St. Pius's in Victoria Park. By January 1949 the last installment of the debt incurred in 1941 had been paid. Fr. Conway now laid plans for the parish to have its own school. The number of Catholic children attending the state schools were increasing each year. Each Sunday afternoon the whole church had to be used for catechism lessons. There were now three catechists: Miss Somers, Miss Keenan and Miss Meacham; Miss Parr played the harmonium.

A social committee was formed to raise funds for the school. Mr Egan was the first chairman and Miss Somers acted as secretary. The Garden Party held in June 1949 was extremely well supported. Fr. John McNulty had come back to be guest of honour and it made a profit of £250. At the end of June Fr. Conway deposited £500 with the Financial Secretary of the Diocese towards the cost of the school. By Christmas 1949 £750 was held in deposit by the Diocese. The weekly football pool was making a profit of £11 per week. Fr. Conway was commended for the work of the pool organisers: Mr Sheridan, Mr Lawton, Mr Street and Mr Carter. By May 1951 £1500 had been saved. On May 12th 1951 Fr. Robert Conway was appointed Parish Priest of St. Peter and St. Paul, Ribchester.