About us

The Parish of St. Philip Neri, Smethwick, was founded by Fr. Edward Caswall in 1863 with Fr. John Flanagan as the first resident priest. Fr. Charles Rhyder came to Smethwick in 1882 and by 1893 had the main structure ofthe present church built. The Lady chapel and sacristies were opened in 1904 and the Sacred Heart Chapel in 1908.

The church was consecrated by Archbishop Thomas Williams on 25th June 1936. After Charles Ryder, the parish experienced the services of so many diocesan clergy over the years until 2007 when the Parish came to be administered by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). 
The current Parish priest Fr. Damian Ozokwere cssp, who came in September 2018, is the third Spiritan to administer the parish, after Fr Uche Njoku and Fr Erasmus Egenonu.
Prior to his joining the Spiritan mission in the United Kingdom, Fr Damian had worked as a parish priest in Nigeria as well as being a Formator for many years at different levels of seminary formation in his religious Order, more especially as a Novice Master. His mantra prayer is "Lord that I may love you more and serve you better".
The Parish has experienced a tremendous decline in population from 2264 with mass attendance of 789 in 1969, to 600 and 200 in 2017. This was not unexpected due to demographic shifts and changes in housing provisions. In recent times there has been a lot of regeneration in Smethwick and around the Parish in particular, with the Windmill Heights developments.

Messenger Road has been completed too, giving the parish neighborhood a most beautiful face lift and more vibrant population.


The Church of St. Philip is a family within the global Catholic family, a lovely one with a beautiful building and vibrant liturgical celebrations that you will love and wish to belong to. She has a primary school (St. Philip's Catholic Primary School) which serves as an educative arm of the Parish through which the parish engages in primary evangelisation and reaches out to people of other faiths and religion. We are a vibrant and energetic community which welcomes children from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds. St. Philip's School was judged by OFSTED as a very good school with outstanding features in 2013.


The Parish also partners with Fr. Hudson Society and the Infant Jesus Sisters in the Brushstrokes Community Project, through which she exercises the Catholic teachings on Justice and Peace. Brushstrokes aims to support the most vulnerable and isolated people in the parish, neighborhood and local communities through outreach, home visiting, providing practical resources, advice & guidance and delivering ESOL for speakers of other languages.


The Parish has a Community Centre that provides facilities for social activities and events and is open for bookings to both parish members and the general public.

In accordance with her mission statement, we aim to be a welcoming community committed to the mission of Jesus Christ and sharing our rich multicultural diversity in a life of peace and love, she opens her arms to all people.


The Parish church celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2018. The Archbishop Bernard Longley was the chief celebrant at the mass on this memorable occasion.