25th August - RIP Fr Maurice Leafe, aged 88, who died peacefully in the evening of this day. Father Maurice was a legal executive until, at the age of 47, he was ordained a priest of the Church of England. In 1995 he was received into the Catholic Church, and in 1997 was ordained a Catholic priest and served as an assistant in Towcester until 2003 when he retired. The Funeral Mass for Father Maurice took place in St Thomas More Church, Towcester on Monday, 12 September, with a burial in Towcester followed by light refreshments in a venue close by.
31st July: The final weekend of the World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland passed off, thanks be to God, without anything more harmful than long sunburning walks followed by downpours. Here's Bishop Peter relaxing post-Papal-Mass with Frs Patey, Seery and Richardson. Next one - Panama, 2019 !
Young pilgrim Lydia Jackson writes; "The final part of World Youth Day was both the most difficult and most fulfilling part of my time away. The twelve mile trek back to the city following the final Mass was gruelling. The sun was blazing down upon our shattered bodies having not had a proper meal in 36 hours. Whilst there were several moments when I wanted to give up, I was reminded of the walk Jesus took to Calvary, to his death, which occurred so that we might live eternally. It could not be denied that the Holy Spirit was very present during that journey, something which I will hold onto now I am home. God gives us the energy and power to be able to do great things, so now, as Pope Francis said, “It is time to not sit back like couch potatoes! Jesus is calling us to leave a mark on history.”
Neil Roseman, Director of Youth Ministry commented, “A highlight of our pilgrimage was to see so many faithful young Catholics enjoying our shared faith. Truly an inspiration for all of us”.
Pope Francis' full address at the Vigil can be read here. Photos and videos are on the NYMO site. For more inspiring youth-ministry news from the subsequent LifeTeen summer camp at Alton Castle, see their Facebook pages.
25th July - RIP Fr Tom Feighan, the oldest priest in the Diocese, who passed away peacefully at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, just before midnight on 15th July, having turned 91 in April and just completed 64 years in the priesthood. Ordained with the Marist Fathers in 1952, Fr Tom came to the Diocese in 1967 and served at Gt Yarmouth, OLEM Cambridge, OL Corby, and Thrapston, before arriving in 1977 at St Augustine's High Wycombe, where he endeared himself to everyone, not least at the local hospital, acting as Catholic chaplain for many years. His funeral, attended by twenty priests, four deacons and many of his family plus a huge turnout from High Wycombe, was on Monday 25th July (principal celebrant the Vicar-General) at 12 noon, his body having been received into St Augustine's at 4pm on the 24th. Fr Strain, with whom he lived for over thirty years, shared many joyful reminiscences. Please pray for his soul, and for the comfort of his sister Mary and many relatives.
9th July - Tony Quinlan and Crispin Walking-Lea were ordained to the Permanent Diaconate at Holy Cross, Bedford, where they will serve in that parish and its twinned parish of SS Philip & James, Brickhill. They are believed to be Bedford's first-ever Permanent Deacons. Congratulations !
25th June. Michael Bates, our most senior student for the priesthood, was ordained to the Transitional Diaconate at Oscott College this day. Fr Wayne Coughlin reports: "In an Ordination Mass, the chanting of the Litany of Saints is powerful for two reasons: firstly, it is sung across the candidates who are lying prostrate in their submission to God; and secondly, because it is sung by us sinners, who are saints in the making! Its offering at the Ordination of Northampton seminarian Michael Bates (from Daventry) did not disappoint ; the fabric of Oscott Chapel vibrated as friends, family, eight Northampton priests and the seminary community sang with conviction "Pray for us!" The Mass was packed with moments of majesty, but also poignancy; none more so than when Deacon Michael shared the Kiss of Peace with Archbishop Longley of Birmingham, recognising in him a fellow Deacon. " Deacon Michael is pictured right with Archbishop Longley. 4th October - Deacon Michael began a prolonged parish placement at St Augustine's, High Wycombe, until his ordination next summer.
16-20th May. Seventeen priests joined Bp Peter and retreat speaker Dom Paul Gunther OSB at Ars in southern France, parish of St John Vianney the patron of priests (some are pictured here before his tomb), They also visited Annecy, where St Francis de Sales and St Jane Chantal are buried.
3rd May - We welcome to the Diocese Danielle Dixon, who has begun work this day as our new Safeguarding Co-odinator. Contact details are here. From 11th October she has been joined by a new Safeguarding Support Officer, Lorraine Elks.