INTRODUCTION

I welcome this publication as a most enterprising and valuable contribution to the Holy Rood Centenary celebration. It has been a labour of love on the part of Mr. Reg Bennett who has written the description of the church, and of Mr. Jack Wright, who has written the history of the parish. He has been enormously assisted by Mrs. Eileen Tierney. We owe them a debt of gratitude for the work they have put into this.

The writing of history becomes more difficult as one approaches more recent times. The sources of information are more plentiful and therefore the task of selecting what is or is not of significance is so much the harder, and has to depend on the writer's personal judgement. The nearer we are to our own times, the harder it is to see events in perspective. For this reason, at my request Mr Wright has not included the present 'regime', since 1980, in his account and has reduced the amount of space given to Fr. Berry's years. These more recent years must await some future historian. The earlier years of the parish, and especially the establishing of the parish and building of the church, make a fascinating story which I am sure the reader will follow with interest and enjoyment.

Mr. Bennett has written a detailed architectural account oft he church, and his love of' this most beautiful building shines through in every page. The general reader as well as the architectural enthusiast will find their appreciation of our lovely church enhanced at every turn by Mr. Bennett's description.

Our restoration of the church has not necessarily attempted to restore it in every respect to what it was like in Bentley's time. But a church is not a museum. No doubt there are features of the building today, and of the life of the parish, that would seem strange to John Bentley, and to Stephen Taprell Holland. They might even disapprove. That reminds us that the Church itself is a living Body, and subject to change. to growth. This will be reflected in the story of a parish and in the worship of the parish. And so it should be reflected in the church building, where that worship is celebrated. Our concern has to he to make the church as beautiful and suitable as it can be for the Catholic community in each age to come together and celebrate the mystery of God's love in the Eucharist.

Bernard Scholes

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Published by The Church of the Holy Rood, Watford. © 2001.