26th July. Jim Hannigan was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate at St John the Apostle, Sundon Park on the north of Luton. As the last ordination of his year-group from the seminary, where he had been Dean of Students, it was well-attended by his colleagues all sporting their new clerical collars, with good turn-outs from Westminster and Southwark dioceses. Also there was Fr Mark Floody who had started Jim on the road to ordination when he was at St Johns, as well as the current PP Fr Tony Brennan and other priests from the Luton area, many deacons, and many of Jim's family and fellow parishioners. Music was of an especially high standard with a post-Communion instrumental air beautifully led by Jim's wife and daughter.
22nd July. Completing the list of forthcoming moves and changes. Bishop Peter announced today that Fr David Clark, a priest of the Oregon Diocese who has been serving in Brentwood Diocese. will come to St Aidan's, Northampton, in mid-October. He will combine his pastoral responsibilities with academic commitments in Cambridge.
19th July. RIP Fr George Foley SSCC, who passed away in Dublin this day. He served as a Sacred Heart Father at Daventry 1975-80 and at Great Missenden (including St Edmund Campion at Hazlemere) from 1980 to 1986.
5th July. In a double ceremony at the Cathedral, two men were ordained to the Permanent Diaconate: Michael Gudge, (left) for the parishes of Thrapston & Raunds and Oundle, and Peter Hurrell, for Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Gt Billing, with St Anselm's, Earls Barton. Eschewing the nearby Grand Prix, dozens of parishioners (including a coach-load of those from further afield) joined their families, with local priests, fellow deacons and students, and the showers mostly held off for the reception.
1st July. Bishop Peter announced forthcoming moves of priests as follows:-
Monsignor Paul Donovan, presently at St Aidan's, Northampton, to become Parish Priest, St. Augustine’s, High Wycombe. St Aidan's is still awaiting a decision.
Father Michael Harrison, presently at St Anthony's, Farnham Royal, to become Parish Priest, Our Lady of Walsingham, Corby. Father Nicholas Nwanzi will be Priest in charge at St. Anthony’s.
Father James Evans, presently at Christ the King, Milton Keynes, and St Bede's, Newport Pagnell, to become Parish Priest, The Sacred Heart and Our Lady, Aston-le-Walls
Sister Yvonne Pilarski, of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is appointed to have pastoral care of the parishes of Christ the King and St. Bede, with the title of Pastoral Administrator. Sister Yvonne will be based in the presbytery at Kents Hill. Father Paul Hardy (St Edwards, Shenley) will be the Parish Administrator of Christ the King and Father Malcolm Bull (Olney) will be Parish Administrator of St. Bede’s.
Father Andrew Ollard, presently at Aston-le-Walls, to become Parish Priest, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Chesham Bois
Father Patrick Hutton to be Priest in charge, Christ the King, Bedford, from 1st Sept.
Father Michael Patey to be Parish Priest, St. Martin de Porres, Luton (as previously announced)
Father Roy Karakkattu MSFS to be Assistant Priest, The Holy Child and St Joseph, Bedford
Most of these moves should be complete by the end of September. Please pray for these priests, and the communities affected, as they receive new pastors, and, in some cases, undergo major changes.
In a separate change, Fr John McGowan OCD leaves St Joseph's, Gerrards Cross, after the first weekend in August, having been appointed to take on vocations-promotion work at the Carmelite centre in Preston: as does Fr Bob Davies, who is to become Regional Superior and Prior at their house in Kensington. Fr Michael Spain OCD arrives to take over at St Joseph's, with Fr Martin McDonald.
Bishop Peter also announced that Sr Marion Connaughty SND "who has been a very effective Vicar for Religious" has retired from that office for health reasons
28th June. Pius Amoako, one of our seminarians (for the Sion Community) was ordained as a transitional Deacon at Oscott College .
Tony Falcon was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate at Sacred Heart, Leighton Buzzard, by Bishop Peter, witnessed by a large contingent of priests, fellow-deacons and students, as well as by his family and a large gathering of parishioners.
Canon Michael Griffiths of Our Lady's at Corby has retired (to Swansea) from this date. Ordained in 1979, he served at St Patrick's, Corby to 1982, then as Chaplain at Our Lady & Pope John School, St Josephs Bedford, St Clare's Aylesbury, Towcester, Great Missenden, Bourne End, Flitwick, Wellingborough, Our Lady's Luton, St Helena in the South Atlantic, then Biggleswade 2008-11, and at Our Lady of Walsingham in Corby since 2011. He became an Honorary Canon in 2007.
Dom Anthony Sutch OSB is helping with Masses at the parish until the arrival of Fr Harrison (see above) .
22nd June - Various retirements among our priests have been made public. Fr Graham Platt who has been at Chesham Bois since last autumn is having to retire on medical advice, and his last Masses will be on 3rd August. Fr William Strain retires in early September from St Augustine's at High Wycombe after 36 years there. See above for Canon Michael Griffiths.
The Bishop has also announced that Fr Michael Patey, presently assisting at St Joseph's in Bedford, is to become Parish Priest at St Martin de Porres in Luton in September.
Other moves will doubtless be announced next month - see above.
24th May - The last Vigil Mass was celebrated at St Joseph's, Long Buckby, a rural Northants Mass centre served from St Augustine's at Daventry.
The main reasons for closure, agreed by its congregation, were: declining numbers attending Mass there, and the reducing number of priests available throughout the Diocese, and hence more pressure on the priests serving the outlying Mass centres.Also there were health-and-safety issues over hygiene and uneven surfaces. Parish priest Mgr Sean Healy commented: "The church and community at Long Buckby have a proud history dating back to 1942 when the first Catholic chapel was opened. The church has seen many changes since then - a huge shift in the way people relate to the Church and in the way the Church sees its mission. We give thanks to God for all the many blessings that have come to the parish through St Joseph's church - its witness and its people. We pray that we will always faithfully live out our Catholic faith and continue to build vibrant Catholic Communities"
7th May. RIP Cathie Clifford, in the Cynthia Spencer Hospice in Northampton. Many will remember Cathie at Bishop's House, as secretary to three Bishops. Our condolences and prayers to Ray, her two sons, and all family, and fellow parishioners at Sacred Heart.
1st May. RIP Fr Mark Elvins OFMCap, who died in Oxford on this date. He was resident priest at Winslow between November 2011 and April 2013.
27th April - Popes John XXIII and John Paul II were canonised as saints in a ceremony attended by around half a miliion people in Rome and watched by millions more on TV and in cinemas. From now on, they may be invoked as Pope St John XXIII (feast day 11th October) and Pope St John Paul II (feast day 22nd October)
1st April. Tony Quinlan and Crispin Walkling-Lea , both from Holy Cross and SS Philip & James in Bedford, were formally admitted to Candidacy for the Permanent Diaconate in a Mass at Holy Cross. Both men are in the first year of their part-time studies at St John's seminary in Wonersh. Four men in the third year are expected to be ordained this summer.
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