31st August - At the end of August, Steve Harris joined the Northampton Youth Ministry Office in the role of Parish Liaison Worker for Youth. He will support youth ministry within parishes and help to develop youth leaders, as well as linking our young people with the wider Church. Feel free to contact him about youth provision in the diocese and the possibilities within your parish at firstname.lastname@example.org
1st August - Jo-Anne Rowney, who attends St Augustine's in High Wycombe, went to World Youth Day in Rio on behalf of the Bishop's Conference. Read her reflections on her return, on the Catholic Herald website here.
23rd July. RIP Fr Vincent McRory who has gone to the Lord on this date, at his home in Kilgrass, Ireland. Father Vincent trained at the Beda College and was ordained priest on 11 March 1967. He served in parishes in Slough, Kings Lynn, Luton, Bourne End, and SS Philip and James in Bedford, from where he retired in 1999. Mgr Sean Healy was to celebrate his funeral Mass in Ireland on Friday 26th July. May he rest in peace.
21st July. Clergy Moves. Bishop Peter has announced the following changes:
- Father Michael Harrison, at Bletchley for eleven years, to be Parish Priest of St Anthony’s, Farnham Royal. (Father Joseph Pham is going on a short sabbatical to be with his mother in Sweden who is terminally ill. On his return, he will help out temporarily, prior to a substantive appointment next September.)
- Father Graham Platt to be Parish Priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Chesham Bois.
- Father Benny Joseph, MSFS, who has been assisting at the Cathedral, to be Priest in Charge at St Patrick’s, Duston. (Fr Philip Swingler is retiring from 3rd August on health grounds.)
- Father Joseph Kuttivayalil, MSFS, who has been assisting at Bletchley for five years, to be Priest in Charge at St Teresa’s, Princes Risborough. (Fr John White is returning to Westmninster Diocese from 24th July.)
- Father Christopher Perry, who has been assisting at Our Lady's in Corby, to be Parish Priest of Bletchley and Winslow.
- Father Wayne Coughlin,who has been assisting at Daventry, to be Parish Priest of Great Missenden and Wendover.
- Father Prince Kurian, MSFS to be Assistant Priest at Bletchley and Winslow.
- Father Peter Ha, who has been assisting at the Cathedral, has returned to his home Diocese in Vietnam: Father Jan Cukas, who has been assisting at Wellingborough for three years, goes back to the Czech Republic: Fr Jan Migacz, assisting at Kettering for 9 months, has gone back to the Marian Fathers.
- Father David Reinhart, US Forces chaplain at RAF Croughton, has returned to Toledo.
There will be temporary arrangements for some of these parishes, but all moves should be complete by the beginning of October. Please pray for all who are moving, and for all the congregations affected.
20th July. Brin Dunsire and Paul Priestley were ordained to the Permanent Diaconate at St Augustine's, High Wycombe. Brin will serve at that parish, and Paul at Blessed John Henry Newman, the two-church parish in High Wycombe. A splendid afternoon-tea reception was held at St Michael's Catholic School.
As a footnote, the first-ever permanent deacon in the Diocese, Hubert Grant Scarfe, was ordained at St Augustine's in November 1971.
13th July. Jim Bannan was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate at Sacred Heart, Luton. Jim will continue to serve at this parish where he has been sacristan for some years. Priests from Westminster Archdiocese and a large cadre of well-drilled and well-turned-out altar-servers joined local clergy, family, parishioners and fellow diaconal students on a glorious day.
On the previous Thursday, at Beaconsfield, Bishop Peter instituted four third-year diaconal students as Acolytes, and three second-years as Readers
29th June - Canon Timothy Russ, Parish Priest of Great Missenden and Wendover for the past 17 years, died peacefully at his home in Great Missenden on this date. Bishop Peter has spoken of "the great faith and equanimity with which Canon Timothy received the diagnosis three months ago that he was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer." The Bishop also gave thanks to God for Canon Timothy’s forty one years of priestly service in the Diocese.
Following studies in Cambridge and Oscott, Canon Timothy was an assistant priest in St. Lawrence, Cambridge and St. Martin Luton before becoming secretary to Bishop Charles Grant. Subsequently, he was Parish Priest of Our Lady of Peace, Burnham and, since 1996 of Great Missenden and Wendover. He was also Canon Theologian on the Cathedral Chapter.
Canon Timothy’s body was received into the church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Great Missenden at 5 pm on Tuesday, 9 July when Evening Prayer was celebrated, followed by a Mass at 8 pm. The Funeral Mass was at 11.30 am on Wednesday, 10 July, in a packed church with many priests and two Bishops in attendance. The interment (family only) was in the Eyre Chapel at the Perrymead Catholic Cemetery in Bath on Friday, 12 July. May he rest in peace.
11th June - Pope Francis has today appointed a new Bishop for our sister Diocese of East Anglia.
Bishop Alan Hopes, aged 69, is currently auxiliary Bishop of Westminster. A former Church of England vicar, he converted to Catholicism in 1994 and was appointed vicar-general of Westminster in 2001. The see of East Anglia has been vacant since July 2011, following the death of Bishop Michael Evans from cancer. Speaking of the appointment, Bishop Hopes said: “It is with a profound sense of trust in God’s loving care for us, that I will undertake this new ministry as Bishop of East Anglia, entrusted to me by our Holy Father, Pope Francis. In this year of faith, and at the beginning of the pontificate of Pope Francis, it is an immense privilege to be called to follow in the footsteps of the late Bishop Michael Evans in serving and leading God’s holy people in this diocese.” (Adapted from report on the Catholic Church in England and Wales website).
26th May. As of this date Fr Innocent Abonyi MSP has celebrated his last Sunday Mass at Blessed John Henry Newman parish in High Wycombe. He has been asked by his Order to take over at St John's in Gravesend. Fr Innocent has served in the Diocese since 2006, firstly at the Cathedral and then as Assistant Priest at High Wycombe, serving St Augustine's satellite churches, St Edmund Campion and St James: and since 2010 as Parish Priest of the newly-created parish of Blessed John Henry Newman.
He is replaced by his Order colleague Fr Joseph Udoh MSP, formerly at Dartford, who celebrated his first Sunday Masses in the parish on 1st-2nd June. We wish them both well, and all blessings in their new ministries.