St Antony’s church was built by and for the Franciscan order in the late 1880s. Forest Gate was a very big parish then, as it is today. At first it was mainly comprised of the Irish immigrants with a number of European Catholics, today we have over 100 nationalities represented in our congregation.

This was the provincial house of the Franciscans in England and Scotland. In the friary there were about 50 priests, brothers and students. The priests looked after Forest Gate parish and went to many other churches in the East London and outer Essex parishes to help with masses when priests were away or sick. The church is very large and built in the Neo-Gothic style and with Pugins’s architectural influence. We will shortly be undertaking a restoration of the interior of the church.

Rite of Election St Antony's 2017


St Antony’s is very much a shrine church.  Every Tuesday at 8pm there is a Novena to St Antony, when Novena prayers are recited, requests for prayers for various intentions are read out and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place. Veneration of St Antony’s relic finishes the service. An average of 200 people come weekly to this Novena. Many more come throughout the day on Tuesdays to pray in the church, this includes many Hindus coming from India and Sri Lanka with a great devotion to St Antony!  In addition, we have a number of masses and services in the church for the other nationalities. There is a Tamil Sunday Mass once a month, a Spanish South American Mass every Sunday afternoon, and during the year there are Masses for the Afro-Caribbean community, the Nigerians, the Ghanaians, the Goans and the Malayalams who have two rites in the liturgy of the Catholic Church – the Syro-Malabar and Malankara rites.


The congregation is one of the largest in the Catholic Diocese of Brentwood. We have two Catholic secondary schools – St Bonaventure’s with 1400 boys and St Angela’s with 1400 girls, both include a sixth form. There is also St Antony primary school which has 450 pupils. We have a commitment to Newham General Hospital (Sister Diana SSJT is the chaplain). There are also regular visits to the sick in their homes. Several internal organisations that cater to the various ethnic groups within the church. We are involved with other Christians churches in the area and thanks to our Faithful Friends Group, we also meet regularly with the local Muslim Hindu and Sikh faith leaders.