The story of St. Gerard’s Church goes back to the early years of the last century when Bishop Burton decided to establish a new parish in the Knowle district of Bristol.
He approached the Redemptorists, who were then at Kingswood and Fr. Vassal-Phillips visited the area with his Lordship, who indicated the best site for the new Church when he said would be under the care of St.Gerard Majella.
The Redemptorists, however were unable to take charge of another parish, so the Benedictines of Douai were offered the new foundation.
Fr. Horrigan was the first parish Priest and he arrived at Knowle in the spring of 1908.
He rented a shop in Jubilee Road and established a temporary Church there.
The temporary Chapel of St. Gerard soon had a packed congregation and many had to attend Mass from Fr. Horrigan’s study and the adjoining passage. In order to go to confession one had to kneel on a prie-dieu in a store cupboard and speak to the confessor through holes in the wall of Fr. Horrigan’s study where three bricks were removed.
Within twelve months the foundation stone of the present beautiful Church was laid by Bishop Burton. Fr. Horrigan remained at St. Gerards until his death in 1922.
In 1924 the Altar of St.Benedict and the Holy Souls Altar was erected in memory of Mr. Yates Surges and in 1925 the high Altar was completed – a memorial to Fr. Horrigan.
The mosaics on the back of the altar were unveiled the same year by the Prior of Douai.