The ministry of cleaning at St Wilfrid’s Preston

Shirley Russo

"I came across St Zita whilst attending Year 6’s Leavers’ Mass at Our Lady and St Gerard’s Primary School in Lostock Hall, Preston, in my role as foundation governor," tells Shirley Russo, parishioner of St Wilfrid's in Preston. The children had made a display at the back of church of various patron saints and their roles, these included St Stephen for Altar Servers and St Pio for Eucharistic Ministers and, not as easy to spot, St Zita. How wonderful came the thought that there is a saint watching over the volunteering team at St Wilfrid’s in Preston whilst they are hoovering the altar carpet or removing cobwebs from the radiators in St Wilfrid’s – as the saying goes – cleanliness is next to godliness!

In August 2016 the church was beautifully re-decorated, the marble professionally cleaned and new LED lighting installed. It would be a shame to have invested so much time and expense to only let it revert to its previous state of being. The St Zita Cleaning Group was started approximately in August 2018 and volunteers are on a weekly, monthly or quarterly cleaning schedule. More recently there is a regular group of volunteers that meet monthly joined by Fr Peter Randall SJ who enjoys letting off steam with the Karcher floor steam cleaner! This all adds up to a whopping saving of £10,000.00 per year for the parish, as it has appeared clear from the latest budget calculations.

St Zita cleaning group shirt

As it is easy to imagine, the cleaning of St Wilfrid’s is quite a daunting task and certainly not for the faint hearted. Over the years, many volunteers have offered their services to clean this beautiful Grade II Listed building and continue to do so today.

Cleaning the church at different points during the day provides an opportunity to meet people who we wouldn’t normally meet during the various masses at St Wilfrid’s – office workers, visitors to Preston etc who come to St Wilfrid’s to light a candle, say a prayer and admire the beautiful architecture, or just to simply sit and listen to God.

St Zita, pray for us.