Tuesday, 30 December 2008


On Sunday 25th Janaury at the 11:15am Mass I will be formerly inducted as Parish Priest of St Marie's by the Dean, Father Paul Cannon.

What is a Parish Priest?

A Parish Priest is called to care for all the people living in his parish in the spirit of Jesus the Lord. He is to celebrate the Mass for and with the people so as to ensure that this is the centre of parish life. He is to strive to lead them in prayer, including prayer in their families, and to take a live and active part in the Sacred Liturgy. He is to preach the Word of God in its entirety and to nourish the people by the fitting celebration of the Sacraments.

A Parish Priest should know his people, by visiting them in their homes, by sharing their joys and anxieties and by his awareness of the situation in which they must live out their discipleship of Our Lord.

With the help of the people, he is to encourage and raise up those who have ceased to live in its abundance the life offered by Our Lord. He is to care for the deep formation of every member of the body of Our Lord, but especially the young, the handicapped, the disadvantaged and those who are burdened.

From the Writings of St John Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars - Patron of Parish Priests
‘You could have two hundred angels there and they cannot pardon you. But a priest, as simple as he may be, can do it. He can say to you: ‘Go in peace, I forgive you.’ Oh, how the priesthood is something wonderful! A priest will only be understood in heaven…If we understand him on earth, we would die, not of fright, but out of love. The priest is not a priest for himself. It isn’t he who grants absolution. He, himself, doesn’t administer the sacraments. He doesn’t do this for himself, he does it for you. The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.’

Traditional Latin Mass

Beginning on Friday 16th January and every Friday thereafter at 7:30pm I will be offering Mass according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII (commonly called the Tridentine (Latin) Mass.
Since the Holy Father issued the Motu Propio Summorum Pontificum which lifted the restrictions on celebrating Mass according to the rites prior to the Second Vatican Council many people have come to learn of the riches of this rite of Mass. Now I realise it will not appeal to everyone and there is no complusion for you to attend, but as Parish Priest I feel it is important that those people who wish to attend Holy Mass according to the Tridentine Rite should have the opportunity to do so.
For those who have never experienced the Tridentine liturgy I would encourage you come along and see what it is all about. The Mass on 16th Janaury will be a Missa Cantata (sung Mass). Members of the Holy Name Choir will be here to sing. Other Masses on the following Fridays may be sung depending on the availablity of the choir. If there is no choir then the Mass will be a Low (said) Mass. But I hope to have a Sung Mass at least on the First Friday of each month.
I am grateful to Father Tim Finigan at http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/ for advertising this new venture on his excellent blog.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Happy Christmas

May I take this opportunity to wish all my dear parishioners, friends and Benefactors the joys of Christmas and every blessing for the New Year.

Deus, qui hanc sacratissimam noctem veri luminis fecisiti illustratione clarescere: da,quaesumus ut cujus lucis mysteria in terra cognovimus, ejus quoque gaudis in caelo perfruamur.

O God who hast made this most holy night shine forth with the splendour of the true Light: grant we beseech Thee, that we, who have known the mysteries of His light on earth may enjoy also His happiness in heaven.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Carols by Candlelight

On Monday of this week we held our Festival on Nine Lessons and Carols. I am sure you will agree that it was a very beautiful service and the choir sang so well not only their own choir pieces but also the congregational carols as well. Among the well known carols the choir sang the following pieces:
The O Antiphon for 22nd Day of December (Plainsong)
Adam lay y bounden
Out of your sleep by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett
Benedicamus Domino by Paul-Isaac Franks.
This piece of music had its premiere at St Marie's.
Away in a manger - Trad French melody, arr. Jacques
The Coventry Carol
O Holy Night

Saturday, 20 December 2008


7:30pm Vigil Mass
11:30pm Carols
Midnight Mass and Blessing of Crib
9:30am Family Mass
11:15am Solemn Mass
10:30am till 12:00 Noon

End of Term Mass

On Thursday of this week we celebrated the end of term Mass for all the children at our Primary School.
Our children were impeccably behaved from the moment they arrived at church, during and after the Mass. Although the Mass was a 'Christmas Mass' Father Francis wanted to keep the theme of Advent and waiting before the children. He did this by talking before Mass started about preparation: preparing to come to school, preparing the church for Mass, preparing our homes with decorations and preparng our hearts to receive Christ.
To emphasise the preparation needed for Mass Father Francis put on his vestments in front of the children and explained what each item was. [Amice, Alb, Cincture, Stole, Maniple and Chasuble].
Once vested for Mass the children stood to sing the opening hymn 'O Mary, when our God chose you ' and Father processed to the altar.
Now that our children are on holiday may I take this opportunity to thank our staff and parents for all that they have contributed to the school year so far. I hope you all have a very happy and Holy Christmas.
Happy Christmas
Wesolych Swiat

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Gaudete Sunday

This Sunday is known traditionally as Gaudete Sunday. The name comes from the opening antiphon for the Mass in latin (both in the 1962 Rite of Mass - the Extraordinary Form or the 1970 Rite of Mass - the Ordinary Form)
Gaudete, Christus natus est ex Maria Virgine, Gaudete!
Rejoice, Christ is born of the Virgin, rejoice!

The mood of advent changes. The priest to-day will wear rose coloured vestments. These are a lighter shade than the more sombre purple of the other Sundays of Advent. A sign that the Light from on high will soon dawn upon us. We will also light the third candle on our advent wreath. Again this is rose coloured and is yet another reminder of Christ the Light who is coming to bring His own wonderful light to our world.

Most of us think that the world evolves around us. Either consciously or unconsciously we consider ourselves to be the centre of the universe. When the government raises taxes our first reaction is ‘How is that going to affect me?’ The way we claim things as our own my car, my book, my money - even my parish further enhances our universe centered concept of ourselves.

In the middle of Advent John the Baptist comes along and reminds us that we have no such central position . The author of John’s Gospel makes clear in the way he presents John the Baptist. We are told that God sent John to bear witness to Jesus, the light of the world. The Gospel of John makes it clear that John the Baptist is not the light but that Jesus is. In other words John’s career was to be other centred - to point towards the Messiah.

Our role as baptised members of the Church is similar to John’s. We recognize that we are not the light, but proclaim that God is. We testify that God is at work in our lives, so that others might believe through us.

Recent Requiem Masses at St Joseph's

Of your charity pray for the happy repose of the souls of Terence Spence and Marian Macauley who have recently died. I offered the Requiem for Terence on Wednesday of this week and the Requiem for Marian on Friday. May they rest in peace.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Monday 22nd December 7:30pm
there will be the traditional service of nine lessons and carols by candlelight. Through music and readings from sacred scriptures we will use our hearts and minds 'to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass.'
The service will have tradtional carols for the congregation to sing as well as pieces sung by members and friends of the choir at Holy Name Church, Manchester.
Do come along and make this service part of your preparations for Christmas.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Recent Baptisms

Please keep in your prayers the following childre who were baptised today at St. Marie's:
Ellie Brooke Donohoe
Isobella Hope Tate

Please also remember their parents and godparents and families. The top photo shows Baby Isobella with parents Francis and Kim. The bottom photo shows Baby Ellie with parents Stacey and Matthew.

Friday, 5 December 2008

School Inspection - View from a Parent

Mrs Robinson, the head of our primary school shared with me what one parent wrote on the back of her questionnaire. I share it with you too as it goes to show what parents think of our school.

My child is still in the foundation stage and hasn't yet started formal RE Lessons. We chose this school specifically for its religious ethos.

So far we are delighted that our new priest has already established good links with the childre, building on the strong links between the school and the parish community.

At the parents induction evening we were told exactly how important RE was, not just as part of the curriculum but in its wider context of being a Catholic school. Also we were told about the responsibilities we ahared as parents and how best we could work in partnership with the school to ensure a continuity at home. We also took home a prayer book with all the prayers that are said at school.
My child's teachers tell me about that is being taught in all subjects and I am happy that the RE is being taught in a very age appropiate manner. The prayer areas each classroom are beatuifully inviting and reflect the spirituality of our school community. At this time also we are looking forward to our first nativity.
As a family we are benefitting from the pastoral are offered by the school and that for us is the greatest expression of our Catholic Faith.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Religious Inspection

Please keep our staff and pupils from the priamry school in your prayers tomorrow as they undergo their Religious Inspection from the Diocese. I am confident all will be well.

Monday, 1 December 2008

John James Ireland RIP

Of your charity pray for the repose of the soul of John James Ireland whose funeral liturgy I celebrated today at Bury Cemetery Chapel followed by burial in the cemetery gounds.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

The Advent Season - Opportunities for Prayer

The New year of the Church begins this weekend with the season of Advent. This holy season is a time of preparation for the appraoching feast of Christmas. It is a time for us to think how we will wlecome the Lord of the Universe not just at Christmas, but when he comes as Judge of the world on the last day.
There are many ways in which we can prepare. One way is by making a sincere confession. Preparing our hearts to recieve Christ the Lord by getting rid of all the things that get in the way, namely our sins.
Confession times at St Maries are as follows:
Wednesdays 11:45am - 12:10pm
Saturdays 10:30am - 12:00 noon
Christmas Eve 10:30 - 12:00 noon
In addition to going to Confession you can spend some extra time with the Lord in prayer and reflection. By means of helping us to do this there there will be Evening Prayer and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament on all Sundays of Advent at 3:00pm. Take some time out of the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations and spend some time with Our Lord in prayer. It will not be time wasted.

Monday, 24 November 2008


After three attempts to find our parish primary school I finally made it!!! I have spent the whole day there today meeting with the staff and pupils. I must say from the outset what a tremendous welcome I received from Mrs Robinson our headteacher and her dedicated staff. St Marie's is a school that we can be proud of and I am delighted to be able ot serve at its chaplain.
The morning was taken up with visiting all the classes. Well that was my aim but I spent longer in some classes than in others and as a result didn't get round the whole school. That just means I will have to devote anothe day to our school, which I am more than happy to do.
In the afternoon I accompanied the French teacher around the school helping out in the classes. I don't know who was the more surprised, the children or the teacher when I began speaking French upon entering the class!!! Two boys who were speaking Polish were even more surprised when I leaned over and said 'teraz po angielsku, prosze' - Now in English please!!!
Advance notice is given that the children from our Primary School will be attending the 9:15am Mass in church to mark the end of term. I look forward to welcoming them.


Eeeee I wonder what he'll be like? I wonder what he'll change? Will he be like the last one? Theae are questions that have been on the lips of many parishioners at St Marie's for the last couple of weeks. Now the wait is over. On the Feast of Christ the Universal King, Father Francis Wadsworth took up his duties as Parish Priest.
For those who were unable to attend Mass at St. Marie's this weekend here is the text of his first homily to the people for whom he now has the care of souls.
For those who seek to become British citizens from other countries there are now a whole series of tests that one has to complete before being granted citizenship: the ability to speak the language, tests to show awareness of the history and traditions of the country. For those seeking entry to our country they are important tests.

Every nation has its own traditions, history, values and language – things that unite it and give it a sense of common identity and common purpose. Every parish has its own traditions and customs too. As your newly appointed parish priest I am conscious of having stepped into the tradition which is St Marie’s.

I expect a number of you will be wondering what the new priest will be like. Will he change anything? Will he be the same as Fr. Carr? The answer to both these questions is inevitabely, yes. As each new priest comes along there are bound to be changes as no two priests are alike . Thank God for that, I hear you cry! But in many ways some things will stay the same and be done in the same way that Fr. Carr did them because they are part of the tradition of Holy Mother Church or of this parish.

One of the blogs I enjoy reading on the internet is called the Hermeneutic of Continuity. This blog written by a priest of Southwark Archdiocese where I trained for the priesthood seeks to bring together the Traditions of the past and contemporary modern culture. Not everything in the past was bad just as not everything in the present is good. We pray for the wisdom to know the difference and to discern like the householder elsewhere in the Gospel to bring from our treasure store things that are old and new.

The old joke of how many Benedictines does it take to change a light bulb and the superior shouting back ‘Change, we don’t do change’ can have no part in the history of the Church. The Church has grown, developed and changed many times in her long history and will continue to do until the end of time. Likewise this parish has seen many changes over its long history and will no doubt see many more.
As many of you know at the end of May Fr Morrow will be retiring from St Joseph’s Parish. I will then take on the pastoral care of that parish too. For that to happen there will need to be change – Mass Times (I cannot offer Mass in two churches at the same time)–But no doubt you will say 'I don't care which Mass you cancel, Father as long as its not the one I go to.' Provision will need to be made for our excellent primary school of St Marie, St Gabriel's High School and Holy Cross College. The care of the sick and housebound and no doubt many other things will need to be carefully considered as to how best we proceed.
We cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend it will not happen. When Fr Simon Stamp, the Bishop's Secretary rings up a priest to ask him to come and see the Bishop the priest usually asks why the Bishop wants to see him. Fr Stamp tactfully replies 'I don't know, Father. But I am sure its nothing to worry about.' In the same way questions about what the future will hold and how will be cope with two churches and one priest my answer is the same as Fr. Stamp's 'I don't know but I'm sure its nothing to worry about.'
Together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and with the prayers of Our Blessed Lady -St Marie, her Spouse St Joseph we can - priest and people face the future with confidence as we seek to serve Our Lord Jesus Christ the King of the Universe and bring his Kingdom about in our world.