On Thursday 17th February the Vicar General, Rev Canon Michael Harrison released the following statement to clergy of the diocese of Northampton. 

At the end of February four priests of the Missionary Society of St Paul, ministering in parishes across our diocese will be leaving.

The general and regional superiors for the congregation have taken the decision to remove the priests from our diocese.

In March 2021, Bishop David received a letter request from the general superior in Nigeria that one of the MSP priests, serving in Northampton diocese should be removed from a parish and return to Africa. The priest in question did not wish to return and, given no reason for concern to remove the priest, out of compassion for the priest, the diocese of Northampton stated that this was an internal congregational matter for the MSP leadership. Following several further requests for the priest’s removal, the congregation stated in November 2021, that they would remove all MSP priests from the diocese of Northampton in January unless the diocese deliver the priest to them. Once again, the Diocese stated that this was a congregational matter and Bishop David would be happy for all MSP priests to remain serving in the diocese of Northampton and neither he nor the diocese would intervene in an internal congregational concern.

Eventually, it became obvious the intent of the congregation would be to remove all priests from ministry in the diocese of Northampton and Bishop David requested a timeframe, which, in mid-February was agreed to be the last weekend of February.

The missionary society of St Paul (MSP) have been active in ministry in our diocese since 2005. During these years, many MSP priests have ministered in parishes across our diocese. Currently in ministry in our diocese are Fr’s Francis Eyo (St Ethelberts, Slough), Joseph Udoh (Our Lady of Peace, Burnham), Livinus Onyebuchi (Our Lady of Lourdes, Aylesbury), Eustace Durugbo (St Margaret of Scotland, Luton) and Pius Duke (St Joseph’s, Bedford).

Bishop David offers his sincerest gratitude to the priests for their support in celebrating the Sacraments for the people of God in the parishes entrusted to them and assured them of his prayers in their continued ministry.

Contact: Neil Roseman, Director of Communications     07725234700