Background to the 200th Anniversary Campaign

“We have attended Holy Cross for 35 years. For us Holy Cross provides a haven of peaceful prayer in the heart of the hustle and bustle of life in the centre of the city.”
– Tony and Liz Scarborough

Holy Cross is a hub that binds together many different strands in the local community.

Serving the people here for over 200 years, the Dominican Friars are known for their dedicated service not just within the church but in their many ministries to schools, hospitals, the prison, and the two universities.

The Valuable Mission of Holy Cross

  • Devoted Priests Serving the Faithful
  • Commitment to Teaching & Sharing the Faith
  • A Warm and Welcoming Home for Many
  • Pastoral Outreach into the Community

Our mission here is not just centred on the church: the pastoral centre here provides a home for a number of parish groups and also welcomes others such as Leicester City of Sanctuary, ArtZone, and more. Furthermore, our ministries take us out every day into the city of Leicester and the surrounding area.

Priorities for the Future

Having reflected on our mission, we have identified four key goals that are our priorities for securing and developing this mission:

  • A Strong & Supported Community of Friars
    • An increased number of active Dominican friars – to ensure we can meet our pastoral commitments here.
    • An annual income that is sufficient – to cover the friars’ living costs and to give our community the administrative support that it needs.
  • Laypeople Energised & Involved
    • People formed according to the Dominican ethos – and working together with the friars to respond to the call of the Holy Spirit within our community.
    • All made to feel welcome – witnessing to God’s mercy.
  • Renewed Buildings fit to Serve our Community
    • Addressing overdue maintenance items
    • Ensuring our buildings project a message of welcome
    • Encouraging the full use of our buildings – for pastoral care and evangelisation, and as a service to all the local community.
  • Intellectual Outreach increased in this University City
    • Responding to a need for a reasoned faith – Leicester’s two universities offer no theological studies, and society in general has little understanding of Christianity, so we see this as a gap that we can fill by providing public lectures and other educational opportunities at different levels.

The reason for prioritising these goals is set out below.

Challenges and Opportunities Facing Holy Cross

In recent years, a close collaboration between the Dominican friars and the people of Holy Cross has already delivered great strides forward:

  • Annual deficit tackled
  • Church internal lighting renewed
  • Church internal stonework cleaned
  • Priory’s living spaces improved
  • New friars added to the community
  • Windows replaced

To build on this success, we must continue to respond to the pressures facing us:

External Pressures

  • Changing Local Population
  • Challenge of Secularism & Other Religions
  • Technological distractions from religion
  • The Personnel Needs of the Province and the Dominican Order
  • Socio-Economic Problems in the Priory’s Vicinity
  • The Perennial Difficulty of finding sufficient Funding for Religious Organisations such as ours.

Internal Pressures

  • Poor Condition of Buildings
    • Halls unwelcoming, needing renovation
    • Roofs Leaking
    • Poor Heating
    • Unpleasant Toilets
    • Unkempt Church Exterior & Grounds
  • Pressure on the Friars
    • Multiple Responsibilities for each friar
    • Financial Worries
    • Pressure to get Paid Jobs
    • Need for Support Staff


At the same time, given the strengths of both the Dominican priory and the lay congregation, there are many opportunities for growing our mission to the benefit of both individuals and society.

  • Serving more people through better use of the spaces available in our buildings
  • Engaging more in current debates about social concerns using the valuable perspective of Catholic social teaching
  • Engaging in constructive and informed dialogue with those who hold different beliefs within this university city
  • Bringing the Christian faith to those who have never encountered it, including through the social connections of the congregation

How We Are Responding

Our response to these challenges and opportunities focusses on delivering four key objectives. Read about them by following these links: