This church is situated in the centre of the island, where the civil parishes of St Peter, St Mary and St Lawrence meet.
The foundation stone was laid on 23 May 1871 in a ceremony presided over by M. Drouyn de Lluys, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs under Napoleon III. The building was completed one year later and officially opened in the presence of Bishop Danell of Southwark and Bishop Fournier of Nantes on 4 September 1872.
The Church is dedicated to St Matthew the Evangelist, in memory of the Jersey martyr, Matthieu de Gruchy, who converted to Catholicism and was ordained priest in France in 1788. Later, having worked for some time in Jersey for the restoration of Catholicism in the island, he returned to France and was arrested and executed in 1797 at Nantes by order of the anti-Catholic revolutionary government. Until 1880, St Matthieu's church was served by priests from St Thomas and, after that, in order to have a priest resident on-site, Mgr Virtue, Bishop of Portsmouth, put the French Oblates in charge. On 11 December 1895, a gift was made by Pere Lemiuns of the little bell Madeleine Genevieve from the original Basilica of Mortmartre and it hung in the belfry there until it was joined by three new bells in August 1929. It is now to be seen hung in the presbytery garden. In 1912, a new altar designed by the architect, Rouillard, was donated by the parishioners to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the arrival of Fr Le Vacon in appreciation for all he had done in the parish. It was consecrated by Bishop Cotter, who came specially from Portsmouth for the occasion. During the Second World War, the presbytery at St Matthieu was occupied by German troops and the priests were given accommodation at Glencoe, a house nearby, which was owned by Mr Maillard. In 1952, as a result of a marked increase in the number of English speaking parishioners, care of the church was handed over to the Oblates of the Anglo Irish Province who continued to minister there until the early 1980s. Since then the church has been served by diocesan priests.
Alongside the church is the “Oasis of Peace”, a venue developed as part of our outreach and mission. The Oasis is being increasingly used by retreat groups and prayer groups. There is a chapel for Adoration and our youth groups in particular use this venue, both for social occasions and in activities in preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
To mark the refurbishment of St Matthieu, a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated on Thursday 19 March 2009, the feast day of St Joseph, by the Catholic Dean Monsignor Nicholas France, Father Kevin Hoiles and other island clergy, together with Catholics from across Jersey.
The church can be found at Coin Varin, St Peter, JE3 7EW.
Office Manager: Mrs Christina Jarvis
Telephone: 01534 863149