Wednesday, 30 December 2009


A parishioner in my last parish composed the following hymn paradoy. I share it with you:

All things bright and beautiful, all priests both great and small
Vestments rare and colourful - our Father wears them all

He starts the year in Advent
In royal purple hue
On sundays wears the Roman
he's got a choice of two.

All things bright and beautiful, all priests both great and small
vestments bright and wonderful - our Father has them all.

Then on Gaudete Sunday
the violet purple goes
Our Father lights lifts our spirits
in rose from head to toes.

All things bright and beautiful our Father really rocks
matching vestments beautifully with rosy, brown striped socks.

At Christmas time and feasts days
he's robed in white and gold
his brightness all enfolding
his little parish fold.

All things bright and beautiful the bells of Christmas ring
Folks turn up from verywhere to hear our Father sing.

The vestments green for weekdays
best known as Fer- ri -a
when nothing much is happening
the plainest ones so far.

All things bright and beautiful all priests both small and tall
Vestments not so colourful - green suits him best of all.

The vestment for the martyrs
is crimson red - not plain
to honour saints in heaven
who did not die in vain

All things bright and beautiful, all priests both small and tall
Scarlet, crimson - red as blood, our Father has them all.

When garbed in robes for funerals
our non RC friends stare
to see his black biretta
perched on his golden hair.

All things bright and beautiful our Fathers in the black
praying for departed souls who cannot answer back.

Our church is so delightful
with marble altar new
and ambo from which Father
can preach to me and you.

All things bright and beautiful Our Father we would keep
Stylish, trendy, fashionable....
good taste does not come cheap.


Of your charity please pray for the souls of the following who have recently died:

Jim McGuirke
Margaret McDougal
Jeno Joos
May they rest in peace

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Christmas Photos

'So that all the visitors may say 'The Church looks nice on Christmas Day' (Sir John Betjeman - Christmas).
I have pleasure in posting photos of our altar at St Marie's decorated for Christmas. My thanks again go to Anna Nowak and her team for all their dedication and hardwork.

Monday, 28 December 2009


May I take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked so hard in the days leading up to Christmas in preparing our two churches to be fitting places for the celebration of our Saviour's birth.
I will post some pictures of the church when I have managed to get my camera working again.


On 21st December we held our annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols by Candelight. With this post are a few pictures taken at the service. Due to the awful weather numbers attending the serivce were lower than usual but all in all about fifty people came along.

Sunday, 29 November 2009


Please pray for Olivia Grace Walsh and Hannah Kay Rothwell who were baptised recently at Saint Marie's. Please also remember their parents and godparents.


Today we begin the season of Advent. The word "advent" comes from the Latin "adventus" meaning, "to come." But what is it that we are waiting for? The world would have us think that we are waiting for the birth of the Child Jesus at Christmas - after all, we've had Christmas decorations up in the shops for a while now. In fact, some in the Church would tell you that this is what we are waiting for.

But the reality is quite different. We have already had the birth of Christ. He was born some 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. The Church reminds us of a cycle of life over the course of the year. This cycle begins with the anticipation of the birth, the birth itself, the death and the resurrection of Our Saviour - all within the space of a few months. The remainder of the year is when the Church has us live out these special events.

But what is it that we are awaiting? What is to come?

Our Gospel today speaks of "signs" in the heavens - the sun, the moon and the stars in dismay. People will be confused and wandering, looking, searching for something. Anything that will provide them some comfort, something that they can hold on when everything seems so precarious, so perishable, so petty.

These are the signs of the second coming. They are also the signs that the enemy uses to confuse and conflict us. Think back to the fear and uncertainty as we neared the end of the 20th century. So many were afraid that the world would come to an end before the arrival of the 21st century. Yet here we are, living and breathing.
So what is it that we are awaiting? What is to come?

We await the Second Coming, This Second Coming will mean the full establishment of the Kingdom of God. And we need to be ready but one of my friends said ‘Oh Father, we’re nor ready for the Second Coming yet. We’ve just had new curtains!’ The problem, of course, is that we don't know when the Seconding Coming will be. So, we remind ourselves of our need to wait while remembering what has already come to pass.

But we do look at the birth of the infant Jesus, not as if it were to happen, but because of what it means for us. A child needs to be cared for, nurtured, fed, bathed, held and loved. This is, in fact, our task. While we await the Second Coming we are to care for the Kingdom that is already and not yet. We are to serve each other and the Church faithfully. We are the ones who will feed and bathe and clothe and love. We are the ones who will teach the Faith, who will build up Christ’s Kingdom, who will share our faith with those who come after us.

On this First Sunday of Advent we are reminded that we can spend all our time waiting and doing nothing, or we can be about our Father's business while we wait. It is on this that we will be judged. It is on this that our very lives depend.

The last three words of the Alexandre Dumas novel ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ present for us a summary of our attitude: wait and hope. But while we wait and hope, we must also work!

Monday, 23 November 2009


Of your charity please pray forthe repose of the souls of those who have recently died:
Audrey Holt
Georgina Fediak
Veronica Armstrong

Christ the King Homily

We do not often read from the Fourth Gospel outside of the Purple and White seasons of the year, but Today’s Solemnity is an exception. John’s Gospel loves showing contrasting opinions and situations. It uses irony as an art form. There is the Gospel of the Man Born Blind who could clearly see better than the Pharisees. There is the Gospel of the Woman at the Well who was thirsty and the thirsty Jesus who himself was a Living Well. There is the Gospel where the soldiers came to arrest Jesus and fell on their faces before him.
The highest point of this use of irony is this Sunday’s passage about Jesus before Pilate. Pilate was the representative of Rome. His palace, his garb, his demeanour radiated the power of the Roman Empire. Jesus was a commoner, an itinerant preacher, a carpenter. So here was this weak Jesus, standing before the powerful Pilate. Was Pilate mocking Jesus or intrigued when he asked him, “Are you a king?” We don’t know. But we do know that Jesus’ answer bowled Pilate a googly: “You yourself say that I am a king. For this I have come, to testify to the truth.”
To testify to the truth. That is what true royalty is about. As servants of Christ the King we are to testify to the truth. It is all about integrity.
There is a great scene in the play A Man for All Seasons , a play about the determination of St. Thomas More to stand for the faith against the persuasion and eventually persecution of Henry VIII. In the scene I’m referring to Henry VIII is trying to coax his second in charge, Thomas More, to agree with him that it is proper for him, the King, to divorce his wife Queen Catherine. After the King made all his arguments, Thomas More said that he himself was unfit to meddle in this argument and the King should take it to Rome. Henry VIII retorted that he didn’t need a pope to tell him what he could or couldn’t do. Then we come to the centre point. Thomas More asks the King, “Why do you need my support?” Henry VIII replies with words we would all love to hear said about each of us, “Because, Thomas, you are honest. And what is more to the point, you are known to be honest. There are plenty in the Kingdom who support me, but some do so only out of fear and others only out of what they can get for their support. But you are different. And people know it. That is why I need your support.”
In the presence of integrity, Henry VIII knew who was King and who was subject.
Thomas More and so many others followed Jesus Christ in being people of integrity. The powerful Pilate could have Jesus tortured and killed, and he did, but Pilate himself remained a prisoner because he lived a lie. And Jesus remained a King because he testified to the truth to his last breath. He testified to the truth in the face of danger, power and opposition. So did the martyr Thomas More. As citizens of His kingdom we must do the same. “Then you are a King?” Pilate asked. And Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this was I testify to the truth.”
This gospel, this feast of Christ the King reminds us that each of us was born for this same reason: to testify to the truth. And what is the truth? Jesus Christ is the Truth, and the Way, and the Life.

Saturday, 7 November 2009


It has been sometime since I posted photos of our Extra Ordinary Form Masses. So with this post are a few pictures taken at our Mass last night.
I would like to record my thanks to everyone who was involded in last night's Mass. The Choir for singing so splendidly Faure's Requiem. Our Altar servers and MC and the faithful souls who came to this Mass to pray for those gone before us marked with the sign of faith.

Thursday, 5 November 2009


Of your charity please pray for the souls of those who have recently died and whose funeral rites have been celebrated recently:

Mandy Deakin
Ryszard Szfranski
Veronica Armstrong


Holy Mass will be offered on Friday Evening 6th November at 7:30pm for all our deceased relatives, benefactors, friends and parishioners. At this Mass the names of those who have died will be read out so that we can remember them as we offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the repose of their souls.

The choir will be singing Faure's Requiem Mass. All are warmly welcome to attend this Mass and pray for all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.


On the 1st November I went to visit the cemetery to bless the graves of the Italian Community who are buried in Bury Cemetery. The weather was not kind to us but none the less we prayed for and blessed the graves of those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.

Dio omnipotente
che con la morte in croce del tuo Figlio
hai vinto la nostra morte.
Con il suo riposo nel sepolcro
hai santificato le tombe dei fideli
e con la sua gloriosa risurrezione
ci hai ridato la vita immortale.
Accogli le nostre prehgiere
per colore che morti e sepolti in Cristo
attendono la beata speranza
e la manifestazione gloriosa del Salvatore.
Concede O Signore
a coloro che ti hanno servito fedelemente sulla terra
di lodarti senza fine alla beatitudine del cielo
Per Christo nostro Signore.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


November is the month when we traditionally pray for those who have gone before us 'marked with the sign of faith.' At our Sung Mass on the First Friday of November (6th November 7:30pm) we will have an opportunity to do just that. The choir will be singing Faure's Requiem.
Many of you will be familiar with some of the music of this Mass if you listen to Classic FM. But the Mass is not something that we listen to or watch as if we were mere spectators. The Mass is what we fully and actively participate in.
I realise that the Latin Mass may not be everyone's cup of tea. Some will object to it saying they so do understand the latin. We do not have to understand everything that is said or sung at Mass in order to pray. Some of the times I have felt closest to God in pray have been when attending Mass on holiday in a country where I did not speak the the language.
We can use the music to help raise our minds and hearts to God as we remember our loved ones who have died.

Saturday, 10 October 2009


Just a brief post to say there will be NO EXTRA ORDINARY FORM MASS (Latin Tridentine) for the next two weeks. The next Mass offered according to the 1962 Rite will be on Friday 30th October at 7:30pm

Saturday, 3 October 2009


Our local sixth From College is hosting an number of Open Evenings for Year 11 Students, their parents and guardians.

from 5:30 till 8:00pm
You are welcome to come along to the evening and find out more about the wide variey of courses available at the College and meet students and staff.
Further details from the College
Telephone 0161 762 4500


After celebrating Mass at the Conference (see previous post) I went to my room to say my office and prepare for dinner. Best bib and tucker for a formal dinner or in my case cassock, fascia and ferriaolo.
After dinner we retired to our rooms. The following morning I was able to partake of a lovely breakfast over looking Lake Windermere. I'm not sure if Eggs Benedict was put on the menu specially for the Catholic Principals Conference but it was certainly most welcome!!!
After saying my goodbyes I returned to the parish - refreshed and ready to begin another day in the service of the Lord and His people.
Once again my thanks to Mr David Frost, Principal of our own Holy Cross College for his kind invitation.


On Thursday last I was invited to offer Holy Mass for the Principals of Catholic VI Form Colleges who were gathering at Windermere for their Conference. I am grateful for the invitation extendined to me by David Frost, Principal of our own Holy Cross College.
Here is a resume of the homily I gave on that ocassion.
On this day two years ago I returned to Saint Kentigern's Parish, Fallowfield where I has served as Curate ti have a chat with Father Thomas Connolly, the then and current Parish Priest. Over our cup of tea Father Connolly told me that he had a meeting that evening for the children who were beginning the sacramental programme. He then turned to me and said ''Father, ehy do we bother? Ehy do we bother having meetings to which only half the parents turn up? Why do we bother preparing children for their First Holy Communion when we know in our heart of hearts that for many it will also be their last Holy Communion? Why do we bother, Father?''
Since I have been appointed a Parish Priest those same questions have run through my mind as well. Why do we bother. No doubt the same questions can be applied to the world of education. Why do we bother spending time with a student helping them with work or some other pastoral concenrn when its apparent to all that the student isn't that really bothered? Why do we bother trying to uphold the Catholic Ethos of our excellent Colleges when there is an ever increasing pressure to take non Catholics? Why do we bother to stand up for Catholic values in an ever increasing secular world? Why do we bother?
St Theresa, the Little Flower whom we honour to-day I think gives us the answer. It is out of love that we bother. Love for our profession, love for our students and above all our love of God.
In her autobiography Terese struggles with coming to terms with her vocation until she realises that her vocation is one of love deep in the heart of Holy Mother Church. For without love the apostles would not preach the gospel. With out love the martyrs would not go to the scaffold. Without love the priests would not offer Holy Mass or the other sacraments of the Chuech. Without love we would not spend so many long hours in the service of education. Love is why we bother.
St Therese said that she would spend her heaven doing good on earth. We too are called to spend time doing good on earth. We too are in the business of saving souls. SAving souls. Perhaps an old fahioned phrase but one I believe is still relevant to day. We who are involved in the work of education have the immense responsibilty of saving souls. We have the power to write, not on chalk boards, but on people souls, on their hearts. To win them for Christ - our of love.
St John Marie Vianney whom we also remember in this year of the priest said that on judgement day we would be asked by Le Bon Dieu - the Good God how many souls we had saved? I dont know about you but I'm not looking forward to that question. How many souls have you saved? Let us pray that through our teaching, preaching and good example we will be able to gain a whole host of souls for him.
St Theresa also said that she entered Carmel to pray for priests and those who direct souls. I hope and pray she is doing that now from her place in heaven because - Le Bon Dieu the Good God - He deserves better than us. Amen

Sunday, 27 September 2009


St Teresa of Lisieux said that she would spend here heaven doing good on earth. If my experience of being at our Cathedral last night was anything to go by that is certainly true. I could not believe the number of people that had made the pilgrimage to her relics. But even more amazing the number of souls who came to Confession. As a priest this is truly a very rewarding ministry. One priest said to me some time ago 'I save up all my goodness, patience and kindness for the confessional. There is no better job for a priest to do than to sit and hear confessions''
May St Teresa continue to bestow many blessings on souls during the visit of her relics to these isles.


Saturday was a busy day!!!
After celebrating the Morning Mass , hearing Confessions and then giving Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament I grabbed a quick lunch beofre going off to do two funeral visits. From these I returned to the presbytery to finish off my homily and get ready for evening Mass at St Joseph's.
After even Mass I had a meeting with the lady who looks after the accounts before coming back to St Marie's to see another family about a funeral.
After that I took myself to the Cathedral to pay repsects to the Relics of St Teresa of Lisieux at the Cathedral. I spent three and half hours hearing confessions. St Teresa's phrase ''I will spend my heaven doing good on earth'' is certainly true. Many souls recieved the mercy and forgiveness of God that night. God be praised.
However all the graces I gained were lost when I left the cathedral just after midnight to return to Bury to find some ruffians (those less charitable than myself may have a different name for them) had smashed two windows in my car.
Thankfully I was able to drive back to Bury (cold!!!) and then had the job of finding someone to replace the glass. I eventually got a temporary repair done and got to bed at 4:00am

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Sancte Philippe
Ora pro nobis

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Respice de coelo Sancte Pater ex illius montis celsitudine in hujus vallis humilitatem, ex illo quietis et tranquillitatis portu in calamitosum hoc mare, et vide illis benignissimis oculis quibus hujus saeculi discussa caligine clarius omnia intueris et perspicis, et visita custos diligentissime, vineam istam quam posuit et plantavit dextera tua tanto labore, sudore, periculis. Ad te itaque confugimus, a te opem petimus; tibi nos penitus totosque tradimus; te nobis patronum et defensorem adoptamus: suscipe causam salutis nostrae; tuere clientes tuos. Te ducem omnes appellamus; rege contra daemonis impetum pugnantem exercitum. Ad te, pientissime rector, vitae nostrae deferimus gubernacula. Rege naviculam hanc tuam, et, in alto collocatus, averte omnes cupiditatum scopulos, ut te duce et directore incolumes ad illum aeternae felicitatis portum pervenire possimus. Amen.
Look down from heaven, Holy Father, from the loftiness of that mountain to the lowliness of this valley; from that harbour of quietness and tranquillity to this calamitous sea. And now that the darkness of this world hinders no more those benignant eyes of thine from looking clearly into all things, look down and visit, O most diligent keeper, this vineyard which thy right hand planted with so much labour, anxiety and peril. To thee then we fly; from thee we seek for aid; to thee we give our whole selves unreservedly. Thee we adopt as our patron and defender; undertake the cause of our salvation, protect thy clients. To thee we appeal as our leader; rule thine army fighting against the assaults of the devil. To thee, kindest of pilots, we give up the rudder of our lives; steer this little ship of thine, and, placed as thou art on high, keep us off all the rocks of evil desires, that with thee for our pilot and guide, we may safely come to the port of eternal bliss. Amen.

Monday, 21 September 2009


I ask you to storm heaven this week for a Special Intention

Sunday, 20 September 2009


Please do keep your pledges of prayer and spiritual sacrifices coming in for our priests during this special year. As you can see from the picture our display the board is filling up which is wonderful to see.


Please remember in your prayers Baby Summer O'Neill who was baptised this Sunday at St. Marie's. Please also remember her parents Wayne and Emilia and her godparents.


As you will be aware the Holy Father has dedicated this year as a Year for Priests. A time when we are asked to pray specifically for priests. But this time something slightly difference. The Holy Father asks us to pray not for new vocations and new priests (but that would be very welcome) but to pray for those who have already answered the Lord’s call to serve him as priests.

With that in mind I thought I would share with you to-day some thoughts about the priesthood and in particular my own journey to the altar of God.

I suppose I first become conscience of the stirrings of a vocation to the priesthood was in I was in my teens aged about 14. In those days we had to choose options in High School – the subjects that we wanted to study at O level in the last two years. Not sure which subjects I needed to study or should study I went along to talk to my local vicar.

You may surprised when I say I went to talk to the local Vicar to discuss a vocation to the priesthood. It didn’t seem strange to me for at that time I was a practising Anglican and it was ministry within the Anglican Communion that I was contemplating.

The Vicar encouraged me to do well at school and said ‘The diocese would like you to be as educated as possible. If it is possible for you to study A Levels, then you should. If it is possible for you to read for a degree then you should before you apply to the diocese to accept you as a student for ministry.

I politely thanked the Vicar for his time and advice but went away with a heavy heart. I did not consider myself to be a gifted academic or bright boy so the prospect of A levels and university filled me with fear. I tried to put the thoughts of ministry out of my mind.

This I almost successfully managed to do until the last year of high school when the possibility that the Lord was calling me to serve him as a minister came to the fore again.

As I was preparing to leave high school – the school chaplain – himself an Anglican minister asked if anyone in Year 11 wanted to go to Lourdes in the summer as part of a youth group. As a boy I had heard and read about Lourdes, its miracles and the apparitions of Our Lady to St. Bernadette but I thought only strange people called Catholics went there!!! Curiosity however got the better of me and I decided to go on the pilgrimage. That was in 1986 and I was 16 years old.

Whilst in Lourdes the thoughts of a possible vocation to the priesthood became stronger than ever but I hoped that they would go away once I went back home!!! And for a while they did.

But during my third visit to Lourdes as I was sat before the grotto saying my rosary – Tom Arkless our Chief Brancardier came up to me and asked me if I had ever considered becoming a priest? I looked at him and said I had, but there was a slight problem – ‘I’m not actually a Roman Catholic’ said I and I thought being a Roman Catholic might be a prerequisite to become a Catholic Priest. Tom asked me to think about it. That question ‘Have you thought of becoming a priest?’ prompted me to have a word with local Catholic Parish Priest when I got home.

I then embarked on a series of instructions in the Catholic faith. Every Tuesday night after Novena in a cold, damp presbytery – the Parish Priest sat at one side of the table, me at the other and the penny catechism between us. ‘Who made you? God made me, Father. I said. ‘Why did God make you?’ God made me to love him and serve him in this life and to be happy with him for ever in the next’ After a course of instruction lasting a year and a half I was received into full communion with the Catholic Church in 1990.

On my next pilgrimage to Lourdes I met a Father Paul Clarke, a Franciscan Priest. During that pilgrimage I was able to talk to him about the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood. Through Fr. Paul’s encouragement I made application to the Franciscan Order as a Postulant and in 1991 moved to the Franciscan International Study Centre in Canterbury to beginning a course of training that would last for 7 years and result in me being ordained to the priest in the Franciscan Order.

My first appointment as a priest was to the Franciscan Parish of St Clare in Blackley where I served as Assistant Priest for three years. However during that time I felt the Lord hadn’t quite finished with me yet and was calling me to serve him as a secular priest in the diocese of Salford. And so on the 11th February (the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes) I went to see Bishop to discuss the possibility of being incardinated into his diocese as a secular priest.

After a series of meetings, many letters and much prayer and reflection the Bishop decided to accept me as priest of his diocese and appointed me to the Sacred Heart in Accrington – for a fortnight – Sadly the priest I followed had dropped dead at the crematorium only a few days before I took up my appointment. That fortnight turned out to be 2 years!!!

From there I moved to St Kentigern’s, Fallowfield to serve as Assistant Priest with Father Thomas Connolly. In appointing me here the Bishop said I would be there for at least three years. However 18 months later the Bishop moved me to St Ann’s Ashton as PP and Hospital Chaplain. After four happy years there the Bishop was to appoint me to St. Marie’s here in Bury and as you know to take on the parish of St Joseph upon the retirement of Father Morrow.

What happens next is in the hands of God.

I share all this with you – not in a way of making me look good so that people will marvel at my achievements– that is not what the priesthood is about. I and my brother priests share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ and it is Him we are called to make known and not ourselves.

I share with you in the hope that it might inspire someone here or someone you know in your own circle of family and friends to think about the possibility that God could be calling them to serve him in the priesthood.

When I am asked to give thanks to God and bless couples who have celebrated 25, 30, 40 or 50 years of marriage I always ask – tongue in cheek if they would do it again and pray they say yes.

If someone asked me if I would do it again I would say YES. Why? Because It’s worth it. It is worth the years of study worrying if you are going to pass the exams. Its worth being called out of bed at 4:00am to attend to the dying and ease their passage to God with the words ‘Go forth O Christian Soul…’ It’s worth it to pronounce to the sinner those words ‘I absolve you from you sins.’ It’s worth it putting up with parishioners who disagree with something you have said or are trying to do. It’s worth it to stand between God and man at the altar and plead the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the living and the dead and utter those words Hoc est enim Corpus Meum. This is My Body.

My dear people pray for your priests. Pray that we will be worthy to minister to you and before the Most High God. But please don’t leave it till I am too old and past it to carry on ministering. Pray for an increase in vocations. Encourage members of your family and friends to consider if God is calling them to be priests.

Pray for priests, but above all pray for holy priests because Poor Jesus – He deserves better than us. Amen.

Monday, 14 September 2009


This homily was delivered 'viva voce' so the notes here may not fully reflect what was said.

In to-day's Gospel we are confronted by a direct question from Our Lord 'Who do you say that I am? The disciples who were asked this question tried to pass the buck. Some say you're John the Baptist. Some say your Elijah. To make it a bit more local and topical we could say 'Them at St Marie's say your one of the prophets. Them for St Joseph's say your John the Baptist.

Our Lord doesn't allow them to get away that easily. Like a teacher trying to gain the attention of an unruly student, we can almost see him clicking his finger and pointing ''BUT YOU...Who do YOU say that I am. And that same question is directed at us - not as a parish, not as a deanery or diocese but as individuals. And we must respond in some way. As a meditation sometime you might want to put your own name befor that question of Our Lord: Francis, Peter, Mary, Helen who do you say that I am?
And our respnses will vary depending who were are, where we are and who we are with. Its eay for us to hunt in a pack and answer with Peter 'You are the Christ when we are gathered here all nicely and cosy in church at Mass. Our response might not be so forth coming when we are asked that same question in the works canteen, the staff room or the school play ground. How do we repsond at work when someone challeges our faith? Do you deny the Lord by keeping quiet for an easy life or do we speak out and risk ridicule? How do we respond when people make fun of us at school when we say we go to church? Who do you say that I am? For who we believe or say Jesus is will have or should have an impact or on how we behave and how we live our lives.
Who do you say that I am? No one said the living of the Christian life would be easier. No one said that witnessing to Christ and his teachings was going to be a bed of roses. And thank God they didn't because they would be wrong.
The following of the Lord brings us many, many joys but there are sorrows too. You don't need me to tell you that. Our Saviour tells us quite plainly in to-day's Gospel that following Him will mean renunciation and carrying a cross. Let us pray for the graces t obe able to take up our cross each day and follow Him.
Who do you say that I am? The disciples gave their answer. What will yours be?

Sunday, 6 September 2009


When I was a teenager, bored one evening I flicked through the pages of the local newspaper and came across a course for those wishing to learn how to communicate with the deaf and hearing imparied. I thought it might have been an interesting course and a useful skill to have so I signed up.

Over the next academic year as well as learning sign language I was given an insight into the world of the deaf, their culture and some of the difficulties that those with a hearing disability face. It was a very interesting course and I enjoyed it immensely.

As part of the course we had to say something about our work and I made the ‘mistake’ of telling the group that I was thinking of becoming a priest. I say mistake because the teacher, a committed Catholic and profoundly deaf herself, roped me into what is now called Hollywood House in our diocese and the Catholic Deaf Association. From that moment I have been involved in work with deaf people. God moves in a mysterious way in our lives and the ability to sign has come in useful on a number of occasions in my ministry as a priest.

In to-day’s Gospel we read the story of the healing of a deaf man by our Lord. As part of the healing process the Lord says to the deaf man ‘Ephphatha – that is ‘Be opened’ and the Lord touches his ears. Those same words and gestures are used in the ceremony of baptism. The priest makes the sign of the cross over the ears and mouth of the child saying ‘The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his word and your mouth to proclaim his faith to the praise and glory of God the Father.’

But we all know there are none so deaf as those who do not want to hear. There are none so hard of heart as those who will not open themselves up to the Lord and allow his healing touch to change their lives.

We come to Mass Sunday by Sunday and we hear the scriptures proclaimed, we hear homilies preached, but do we really listen. Does what we hear proclaimed in these four walls week by week make any difference to the way we live our lives? Or do we have selective hearing?

One of the converts I was instructing sometime ago at one of our sessions suddenly exclaimed ‘Father, I’ve got it! The Catholic Faith isn’t like the pick and mix counter at Woolworth’s (in the days when we had Woolworth’s). You can’t pick and choose which bits to like and ignore the rest.’

How right he was but how many of us try to do just that? We take away with us the parts that we like and those that we don’t like or that challenge us to change we pretend we haven’t heard. Jesus being born in Bethlehem is a nice story so we listen to it. Jesus telling us we have to love our enemies and pray for those who cause us trouble – well we don’t like that so we don’t listen. Jesus blessing the children is nice so we listen, but Jesus telling us that certain types of relationships are wrong -well we don’t like that so we turn off our hearing aids so we can’t hear.
The Lord challenges and calls us this Sunday to listen attentively to him and listen to everything that he says – not just the bits that we like and make us feel good so that we can proclaim the wonders the Lord has worked for us. And people will say of us what they said of Our Lord. ‘He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and to those without speech he gives a voice. Amen

Friday, 4 September 2009


Last week I had a meeting with Mt Joseph Burke, the architect appointed by the Board of Administration of the Diocese to draw up plans for the re-ordering of the sanctuary at St. Marie's church.

An initial proposal has already been sent to the Bishop and he has visited the church to discuss that proposal further with me. We have now moved onto the next stage and detailed plans have to be drawn up for submission to the Board of Administration and later the Historical Churches Group as St Marie's is a listed building.

At this stage the plans are as follows:

1) Move the present altar back to its original position on the east wall and re-locate the tabernacle from the side altar on it.

2) Create a new, smaller altar on the same level as the present one but move it back some six foot to enable dignified celebrations 'versus populum'

3) Create a Sacred Heart Chapel where the Blessed Sacrament currently is by bringing the statue from the back of church.

These plans are in no wy finalised and will need the permission of the Bishop and the Historical Churches Group before any changes can be made.


Of your charity pray for the happy repose of the souls of Florence Lyons and Honora Monks who have recently died. May thay rest in peace.

The Requiem Mass for Florence Lyons will be on Monday 7th September at 9:30am in St Joseph's Church.

The Requiem for Nora Monks will be on Friday 11th September at 12:15pm in St Marie's Church.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


It is great to see some pledges of prayer etc appearing on the display by the confessional in this Year of the Priest. There is room for plenty more. If you would like to make your pledge via the blog then please do so. I will see that your pledges are put up in church. You do not have to put your name to them.
Many thanks to the kind lady who has pledged a Rosary and a Cake once a month!!! I will have to be careful otherwise I'll need a new cassock by the end of this special year!!!

Sermon for 22nd Sunday in Ordianry Time

In the light of the latest Swine Flu panic and guidelines having been issued by the Bishop's Conference about Holy Water in church etc We could think that Our Lord is simply trying to offer us some hygiene rules. However, I think there is more to this than meets the eye. I think we are in the realms of Christian anthropology, that is what Christians do or should believe about themselves as human beings.
Let’s start this overview with the obvious statement that there are a whole range of opinions from the utterly negative to the utterly positive. Before coming to the middle where the Universal Church finds herself, I want to look very quickly at the extremes.
Martin Luther and the Continental reformers believed that mankind is irrevocably flawed and sinful, capable of nothing good whatever on its own. “Corrupt” and “depraved” were words Luther used often. It is a very depressing point of view. We know Luther suffered badly with depression caused by piles and constant constipation!!! He could not bring himself to say that Christ changed all that, but said that the Saviour merely overlaid our underlying sinfulness with His own righteousness. He famously described salvation as snow covering a dung heap. You can see why Catholics have not gone down this road, as it is too hard and depressing point of view. It does not allow for art and music and literature as good things and makes too much of wars and crime.
On the other hand, England’s only home grown heresy goes to the opposite extreme. A priest called Pelagius said that we are all really very good chaps and chappesses. All we have to do to get to heaven is to try hard. He reduced the work of Christ on our behalf to just setting a good example for us to follow. Pelagianism is still rife today. It is overly positive about human beings, making too much of our abilities and paying too little attention to the reality of sin and human folly.
Jesus is particularly against this latter view in this gospel. Evil things, He says, come out of the human heart and defile a man. We do not acquire that heart later in life, but are born with it. Innocent thought they are in the crib, babies have the potential for evil as well as good in them. However, Christ came to address the problem of human weakness and sinful deeds. We are capable of good, but we cannot reach heaven without Him.
And that brings us round to the washing of cups and pots after all, for washing in water is precisely what we need for salvation. The human will is damaged but not irreparably. Grace is a real power to change and improve our lives. In Holy Baptism, God not only declares us just, but begins in that very instant the process of sanctification. He cleanses the heart little be little and forgives what emerges from it to defile us. Understand now, why He pronounces blessed the pure in heart. We are not to be overly confident, nor are we to be overly depressed about human beings, but above all, we must look to God for His grace to raise us to heavenly glory. Amen.


A reader recently telephoned to ask if the weekly sermon / homily could be put on the blog. I am more than willing to do this as and when I remember. So whilst things are fresh in my mind I will post the sermon I gave this Sunday.
However I cannot claim that the thoughts contained in it are original to myself. Priests will ocassionally get together or ring each other up and ask 'What are you going to preach about on Sunday?' Then after a few thoughts have emerged pen will be put to paper (or fingers to the computer keyboard) and a homily is written. Last Sunday's homily is a point in question and I am grateful to my brother priest for his care in forwarding me his homily. I hope he doesnt mind me sharing it with you.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


I am grateful to Father Tim Finnegan at for the following quotation from an American Bishop
“If St. John Vianney himself were in many of our American parishes there would be an abundance of letters from concerned parishioners about the direction in which he was taking the parish.” Bishop Robert Vasa“If St. John Vianney himself were in many of our [American] parishes there would be an abundance of letters [to the Bishop] from concerned parishioners about the direction in which he was taking the parish.” Bishop Robert Vasa

Monday, 31 August 2009


In this year dedicated to the Priesthood and in honour of the 150th anniversary of the Holy Cure of Ars, St John Marie Vianney one of our parishioners has asked that we offer a spiritual bouquet for all our priests. If you wish to contribue there are cards at the back of the church on which to place your pledges. THese will then be displayed around the poster on the noticedbaord by the confessional as a reminder to pray in a particular way for priests this year.

May they rest in Peace

Your charitable prayers are requested for those who have recently died:
Mary Marshall
Beryl Mann
Florence Lyons
Eternal Rest Grant unto them, O Lord and let perpetual light shine on them.
May they rest in peace.


Please keep in your prayers Dr Kelly Senior and Mr Stephen O'Louglin who were married at St Marie's on 29th August. We wish them every blessing as they begin their married life.


Once again we were hosts to the student community of Papa Stronsay. The students, Brothers Ivan, Yousef, Matthew, Jean Marie and Magdala broke their journey at St Marie's on their way back to the States to continue their studies for the priesthood at the Faternity of St Peter Seminary in Denton, Nebraska.
It was wonderful to see them all again and we wish them every blessing as they continue their studies.

We were also able to offer hospitality to their superior Fr. Michael Mary and Brothers Nicodemus and Martin who were travelling back to Papa Stransay after a recent pilgrimage to Ireland.
The picture in this post was taken as I dropped my confreres off at the airport.
Further information about the Papa Stronsay Community can be found by visiting their blog:


A number of our readers have been asking for some pictures of St Joseph's Church. Well here they are!!! I have only made one minor change to the sanctuary and that is to add what we have come to call the 'Benedictine Arrangement' of candles to the altar.

The candles have come from one of our neighbouring churches (St Mary and St Philip Neri in Radcliffe) that has sadly closed.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


For a good number of years now the work of (re)translating the texts we use at Mass has been gathering pace. We are probably now entering the finally stages of that work and can finally look forward to a new translation of the Roman Missal that is more faithful to the orginal latin edition of the Missal. At last to quote eminient blogger Fr Zuhlsdorf we can find out WHAT THE PRAYER REALLY SAYS. Take a look at Father's excellent blog at:
When this translation has been authorised by the Holy See there will follow a period of catechesis (teaching) about the New Missal. The American Bishop's Conference are already leading the way in this regard and have produced an excellent website that will be of great us to all of us Bishops, Priests and Laity and we start to use the new texts.
if you wish to take a look at it the web address is below:


As I was reading a few blogs this afternoon I came across this blog and I thought i would share it with you. It expresses the hopes, joys and sorrows of many young people and priests in our Chruch to-day.

Friday, 21 August 2009


I recently took part in a training conference organised by the Latin Mass Society for those who wished to learn how to celebrate Low Mass according to the Usus Antiquior or those who wished to learn the more complicated ceremonial for the Missa Cantata and High Mass. I was asked to write a report for that confference and it was recently published in the LMS Magazine 'Mass of Ages.' In order to give the article a wider audience I also reproduce it here.
Tracing its roots back to Douai in France during penal times, Ushaw College has been training priests on its present site for over 200 years. For four days this April it trained a few more! In this case they were already ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on arrival, but, in seeking to learn something of the Extraordinary Form (TLM), they were, nevertheless, being trained in the traditions of the Douai Martyrs and countless others before them.
Some of the “students” were former inmates of this august house of formation, and had tried to adhere to traditional ways even then, so the phrase “Douai Martyrs” may have applied in more recent times. It rejoiced their hearts to see the Gothic splendours of the Pugin chapel of St Cuthbert ringing once more to the sound of plainsong and the Mass of Ages.
The move north from Merton College, Oxford to County Durham facilitated participation [full and active!] by clergy in the Northern Province, though some still came from the south. Clearly, the thirst for contact with our ancient heritage is as strong in the North as it was down in Merton.
The clergy fellowship was a key element to this venture, as before, but the use of trainers from the North gave a different feel to everything, both in the Mass practices and also in the bar. Those with some experience supported those with little or none. The de-briefing in the sacristy after early morning Masses was also very important, with servers and LMS Committee members adding their contribution to the mix.
Because there will be a Summer venture in the south later this year, the scale of this conference was smaller than Merton I and II and this gave rise to the possibility of more in-depth formation. It also afforded more opportunities for friendship and solidarity amongst participants. This latter will prove its worth in the coming months in parishes up and down the kingdom as we try to implement the Holy Father’s much valued Motu Proprio.
This point cannot be over-emphasised. We have already seen in the so-called Catholic press persecution of priests for re-launching the TLM in parishes. Since none of us has the hide of a rhinoceros, the networks of support provided by like-minded clergy and laity is vital for withstanding the assaults of the frightened liberals. The criticism of ‘blogging priests’ is just another way of trying to undermine the mutual support and self-defence of orthodoxy.
The aforementioned Motu Proprio refers not only to the Holy Mass, and so participants were treated to a learned and pastoral review of the Traditional Rite of Holy Unction, Viaticum and Commendation of the Dying given by a serving hospital chaplain. Having served as a hospital chaplain myself, I can concur with Father’s experience and his thoughts on the pastoral relevance today of the Traditional Rites.
With so many people coming to the UK from around Europe, the draw backs of vernacular liturgy are becoming ever more evident and the use of the Traditional Rites in Latin serves to assure migrants of the presence of a Catholic minister at their bedside in their hour of need.
Even more benefit might have accrued from this lecture had not some of us found it difficult to focus attention so long after rising for Mass. A fellow participant, who dared to snore, assured us that it was the getting up early that caused his wandering thoughts. He was not complaining however, because the early Mass shows the priority of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in our spiritual lives.
This training conference for priests offered some of us the chance to develop our skills in the offering of Missa Cantata and Missa Solemnis. Reflection on this amongst my fellow trainees and tutors suggests that more attention needs to be given to the formation of musicians, servers and MCs to facilitate the roll-out of this normative form of the TLM. It is most fitting to begin with priests, but even in Traditional circles others have their role to fulfil in the worship of Almighty God.
Clerical humour being what it is, recreation allowed several wags to speculate on appropriate Latin versions of some of the ditties to which we are all subjected these days at Sunday Mass. I will long remember “Legate Nos, Domine” for ‘Bind us Together, Lord.’ However, readers will be delighted to learn that we could devise nothing to latinise Kumbayah!
The majority of participants, including your writer, offered Mass in the More Ancient Use of the Roman Rite each day, growing and improving as they did so. It was a delight to re-live the joy of a First Mass along side those priests who offered the Usus Antiquior for the first time at Ushaw. It is to be hoped that more clergy will re-kindle joy in the priesthood through discovering the riches of our Catholic heritage.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


Arranging a funeral of a loved one can be a very distressing and upsetting time. For many it will be the first time that they have had to deal with such thngs. They are not always aware of the Church's requirements. This information is intended to offer guidance for family members involved in preparing a funeral liturgy, and those others who will assist them.

Go to see the priest who will conduct the funeral, at the earliest opportunity. He will give you guidance on all matters concerning the funeral service. It is essential to remember that a ceremony in church, whether a Mass or Service of Prayer, is always an act of worship and is never simply a 'presentation' or 'event' or 'celebration of a person's life' with those present as observers. Normally a funeral takes the form of a celebration of Mass but this is not always so. A service of prayer may be held at the Crematorium or at the graveside.
Singing forms a necessary or integral part of worship. As well as being a form of prayer it also acts as a means of including all present in what is taking place. The priest will be quite happy to help you choose suitable hymns for the funeral liturgy.
More and more requests are made for non religious music or pop songs at funerals. This is not permitted in either of the churches in our parish. Music of a non-religious kind, whether sung 'live' or played on CDs or audiotapes is best suited either for the crematorium or even at the graveside itself. The music of the liturgy, like the liturgical texts, should be expressions of faith in the saving mystery of Christ's death and resurrection, and appropriate to the part of the liturgy in which they are sung. 'You'll never walk alone' and 'I did it my way' and the like, do not have a place in the Church's liturgy and they should not be used.
Worship in Church always includes passages of God's Word from the Bible. There will usually be two readings from the Scriptures, or maybe three. The last reading is always from the Gospels. The first may be from either the Old or New Testament. If there are three the first is from the Old Testament and the second from the New Testament.
Whilst these texts do have particular associations for people and may be very attractive, they do not fit easily into the normal Catholic Funeral Liturgy. Non-religious poems and texts might come across much better during prayers in the home before or after the funeral liturgy.

It is sometimes requested that a member of the family or friend be permitted to 'say something' in church. This is always a very sensitive issue and needs to be handled carefully. A funeral is a moment of solemnity and it can be very difficult for members of the family to contain their distress. Catholics are not permitted to have addresses of a political nature, and must also always be aware of how any address can cause tension or conflict. The crematorium or the graveside might be better suited to such an address.
A 'personal tribute' should be restricted to the person's qualities and should be in keeping with the religious nature of the occasion.
If there is to be such a personal tribute in church, the person delivering it needs to consult the priest and should write their text beforehand so that it does not take more than two or three minutes. The text should be no longer than 400 words and should be handed to the priest at least two days before the ceremony. The place in the ceremony for such a tribute is after Holy Communion.

It is common nowadays for the Christian symbols of the crucifix and a book of the Gospels to be placed on the coffin at the beginning of the ceremony. A member of the family or a friend may place the symbols.
Any flowers placed on the coffin will be removed as the coffin is brought into the church and then replaced at the end of the Mass when the Book of the Gospels and Crucifix are removed and the procession leaves the church. A table will be provided near the front of the church for people to place Mass cards.

It is sometimes requested that the coffin be covered with a flag. The Catholic Funeral Rite specifically does not permit this in church. National flags, or flags or insignia of associations have no place in the funeral liturgy. They may drape the coffin until it comes to the church door, but will then be respectfully removed before the coffin is brought into the church. They may be replaced again as the coffin is taken from the church after the mass, and before it is placed in the hearse.

Sometimes families request that their deceased relative might lie in church during the night preceding the Funeral Mass. This Prayer Vigil can be arranged with the Funeral Director and the Priest.
When arranging a funeral bear in mind that there are certain Feast days when it may not be possible for the parish to accommodate the celebration in church. Holy Thursday is one such example. You may need to be aware of this when discussing the date and time with the funeral director.

We hope this guidance will be helpful in your planning for the funeral and that the resulting ceremony in church will be dignified and prayerful.

May they Rest in Peace

May I commend to your charitable prayers the souls of the following who have recently died:

Fr. John Neville
Andrew Gluba
Catherine Daniels
Anne Chambers
Stella Currie
Kathleen McLaughlin
Eternal Rest grant into them O Lord and let light perpetual shine upon them. May they rest in peace.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Donations for Flowers

Many thanks to all those who gave money towards the cost of the flowers for the church this weekend. We remember in prayer those in whoae memory the flowers have been bought
John and Stefan Novak
James, FLorence and Betty Flynn
Brooke Anastasia Wheildon
Roman Jezierski
The McMermott Family

If you would like to make a donation for flowers in memory of a loved one to mark an anniversary, birthday or other special event then please have a word with Anna Novak our flower arranger or Father Francis. The names of those in whose memory flowers are bought will be placed in the newsletter.

The Assumption of Our Lady

Many thanks to all woh worked so hard to decorate the church and the Lady Altar for to-day's Feast of Our Lady's Assumption. Many people have commented on how beautiful the church looked. In this post we have a picture of the Lady Altar decorated with flowers and candles.

Friday, 17 July 2009


Mass is celebrated every Friday at St Marie's beginning at 7:30pm according to the more ancient use of the Roman Rite - The Usus Antiquior. This is more commonly know as the Tridentine Rite or more simply 'Latin Mass.'
Anyone and everyone is most wlecome to this celebration of this form of the Roman Rite.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


The more perceptive readers of this blog will notice a slight change in title. The blog is now called Mary and Joseph's Gem - musings from the parish of St Marie and St Joseph, Bury. This reflects the reality of the parishes in this part of Bury. We are now a twin church parish!!!


Are various times in our lives we Catholics are asked to produce a Certificate of Baptism. Many people are unaware how to go about this. I am grateaful to Father Timothy Finnegan of The Hermeneutic of Continuity Blog for the following helpful information.
Every parish keeps a permanent register of Baptisms. This is one of the most important things that the parish possesses. If things are done properly, your confirmation should also be recorded and also your marriage (or religious profession, or ordination.)
A "Baptism Certificate" is a copy of the entry that is made in the Baptismal register. If you are getting married, you need to supply a recent baptismal certificate (within six months of the wedding) which will then also record that there are "no other entries" (i.e. no previous marriage recorded) and that you are "free to marry". It is also OK to ask for a Baptismal certificate if you just want to know when your baptism was.
If you want to get a certificate of Baptism, send a letter addressed to the parish priest of the parish where you were baptised. Give your full name (as it was at the time of your baptism if your name has subsequently changed.) Give your date of birth and roughly when the Baptism took place. If you were baptised as a baby it is sufficient to say this but if you were baptised at three or four years old, it will help the parish priest if you tell him this; and enclose a stamped addressed envelope just to make things a little easier!


This week we welcome Fr. Marcin to our twin churched parish. Father is a priest of the Archdiocese of Warsaw. He will be staying with us until the 5th August. I know that you will make him welcome.


I realise that it has been sometime since I updated the blog. Since I took over the pastoral care of St Joseph's Parish things have got kinda busy...

Here is a brief summary of events over the last few weeks.

On sunday 14th June we celebrated the First Holy Communion Mass for the children in the St Joseph area of our parish. The church was full to overflowing not only with the children but also their parents, relations and friends. Here I would like to record my thanks to the staff of our school who have worked so hard throughout the year to prepare our children for their special day. I felt so guilty stepping in at the last minute just to celebrate the Mass and appear on the photos when all the hard work had been done.
On Tuesday 23rd June I celebrated Mass in French at Holy Cross College. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Mass for the first time in the College. My thanks go to Mr Daveth Frost, the Principal for his kind invitation and all his efforts in preparing texts for the Mass.
On Sunday 28th June (Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul transferred) we celebrated First Holy Communion for the children of the St Marie area of our parish. Again the church was full to capacity with the children, their families and friends. My thanks go once again to all who helped make it a joyful celebration.
On Sunday 5th July the children from St Marie's who made their First Holy Communion the previous week were presented with their certificates for Confirmation and First Holy Commuion. After the Mass the children went into the parish centre for a party. All the children had a very enjoyable time.
As we come to the end of the academic year Masses for the school leavers were celebrated on Wednesday 8th July for St Joseph's and 13th July for St. Marie's. We wish all our year six children every blessing for the future.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Consecration of Chalice and Paten

On the Feast of St Anthony I celebrated the eleventh annivserary of my ordination to the Sacred Priesthood of Jesus Christ. Thanks to the the generosity of the people of St Ann's Ashton under Lyne I was able to by my ordination chalice and paten. Having started life in a Relgious Order I was not able to have a chalice and paten of my own. Now eleven years later that has been remedied. Once again I record my grateful thanks to the people of St Ann's Ashton under Lyne and assure them of a remembrance in my prayers and at the altar.
Consecration of a Chalice and Paten
Celebrant: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
C: Let us pray, my dear brethren, that by the help of God’s grace this paten may be consecrated and hallowed for the purpose of breaking over the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered death on the cross for the salvation of us all.
C: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.
C: Let us pray.

Almighty everlasting God, who instituted the laws of sacrifice, and ordered among other things that the sprinkled wheaten flour should be carried to the altar on plates of gold and silver; be pleased to + bless, + hallow, + and consecrate this paten destined for the administration of the Eucharist of Jesus Christ, your Son, who for our salvation and that of all mankind chose to immolate Himself on the gibbet of the cross to you, God the Father, with whom He lives and reigns, forever and ever.
All: Amen.

Lord God, may you deign to + consecrate and to + hallow this paten by this anointing and our blessing, + in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever.
All: Amen.

Let us pray, my dear brethren, that our Lord and God, by His heavenly grace and inspiration, may hallow this chalice, about to be consecrated for use in His ministry, and that He may add the fullness of His divine favour to the consecration performed by us; through Christ our Lord
All: Amen.
C: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.
C: Let us pray.

O Lord our God, be pleased to bless + this chalice, made by your devout people for your holy service. Bestow that same blessing which you bestowed on the hallowed chalice of your servant, Melchisedech. And what we cannot make worthy of your altars by our craft and metals, do you nonetheless make worthy by your blessing; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen

Lord God, may it please you to + consecrate and to + hallow this chalice by this anointing and our blessing, + in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever.
All: Amen.

C: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.
C: Let us pray.

Almighty everlasting God, we beg you to impart to our hands the virtue of your blessing, so that by our blessing + this vessel and paten may be hallowed and become, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, a new sepulchre for the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

BLessing of Lillies

On Saturday last we celebrated the feast of St. Anthony of Padua. He's the one in charge of the lost and found department in heaven!!! The lilly has long been a symbol of St. Anthony and on his feast day there is the custom of blessing lillies in his honour.


O God, Who art the Creator and Preserver of all mankind, the Lover of spotless purity, the Giver of all grace and everlasting life, sanctify by Thy holy benediction these lilies, which in thanksgiving, and in honour of St. Anthony, Thy Confessor, we present for Thy blessing.

Pour down upon them, by the sacred sign of the holy Cross, Thy heavenly dew, Thou Who didst so kindly create them to gladden man by their beauty and fragrance; enrich them with such power, that to whatsoever disease they may be applied, or in whatsoever home they may be kept, or on whatsoever person they may be borne with devotion, through the intercession of Thy servant, Anthony, they may cure every sickness, repel the attacks of Satan, preserve holy chastity, and bring peace and grace to all who serve Thee. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 8 June 2009


Please keep in your prayers John Edward Lynch who was baptised at St. Marie's recently. Please also remember his parents and godparents.

Saturday, 6 June 2009


This weekend we enter a new phase of history in the life of the Church in Bury. As of this weekend the parish of St Joseph and St Marie are to be one new parish under the pastoral care of one Parish Priest, Fr. Francis Wadsworth. Do please keep the people and priest of both places in your prayers as we begin to work together

Friday, 5 June 2009


According to the 1962 Calendar is the Octave of Pentecost. As our recent visitors (The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer - see previous post) worship according to that tradition I was able to offer Mass for them each day of their visit.

Some photos of the Mass are included in this post.


Last year whilst on our diocesan pilgrimage ot Lourdes I had the good fortune to meet some members of a religious community called the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer. The Latin abbrevaiton for this is FSSR.

The communnity is based on the island of Papa Stronsay in the Orkneys. More about their life and work can be found by clicking here

The five students of the Order are currently studying for the Sacred Priesthood in the Fraternity of St Peter Seminary in Denton, Nebraska, USA. On their way back to Papa Stronsay for the summer vaction they broke their journey with us at St. Marie's. I was delighted to be able to welcome them to out parish.

Please keep them all in your prayers as they continue their studies for the priesthood.

Br. Ivan Maria FSSR
Br. Martin Mary FSSR
Br. Jean Marie FSSR
Br. Yousef Marie FSSR
Br. Magdalena Marie FSSR

The picture in this post shows me with them in Lourdes last year.

Saturday, 23 May 2009


Of your charity pray for the happy repose of the soul of Laurence Francis Yates who died on the 5th May 2009 aged 75. Laurence was a member of the Latin Mass Society and in accordance with his wishes I was able to offer the Requiem Mass for the repose if his soul according to the rites of 1962.
Please keep his family in oyur prayers at this time. Eternal Rest gratn unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


I realise that the letter I read out at Sunday Mass last week has upset a number of people. If it means anything to you I too am one of those upset people. I too would like to keep things exactly the same but as the priests of the area said in their letter last week:
In an ideal world we would have been able to keep everything exactly the same, and everyone’s most convenient/favourite Mass time in their Parish would have remained unchanged. But within the diocese as a whole we have reached the point where this is no longer feasible.’
In a few weeks we enter into a new phase of history in this part of the Bury Deanery. The two parishes of St Joseph and St Marie will be amalgamated to form ONE NEW PARISH. For this new parish there is ONE PARISH PRIEST and there are THREE MASSES. The difference is the Masses are now spread over TWO BUILDINGS.
With any new venture there are always one or two teething problems. Think of when you moved house, bought a new car, started a new job etc. In time we will work through the difficulties TOGETHER. As your Parish Priest I am unable to undertake this task alone. There will have to be a close collaboration between priest and people. TOGTHER WE CAN DO IT.
I know that some of you have written about your concerns to the Dean and even the Bishop because those letters (and replies) have been copied to me. I an fully understand the sentiments in those letters, but whether wwe like it or not the reality will remain the same.
As your Parish Priest I have other duties other than celebrating Mass on Sundays. In the new parish there will be TWO PRIMARY SCHOOLS who will ask for support and pastoral care that only a priest can give. There will also be an increase in the number of baptisms, weddings and funerals all of which take time to prepare. So you can see I will have my work cut out!!!
I therefore do not need to search for extra work or have it created for me. It is not an easy task to have to console brides over the telephone who are worried their wedding will not take place because they have heard 'the church is closing'. Can I assure anyone who may have heard that the church is closing that is MOST CERTAINLY NOT THE CASE. Weddings and Baptisms that have already been arranged will take place. The only thing that will prevent me from celebrating those sacraments with you and for you will be if the Lord calls me to Himself or more likely sends me to the place where I won't need an extra coat!!!
Please do not go around spreading untruths that either the church of St Joseph or St Marie closing. Please do not stop people at random asking them to write to the Bishop or the Dean or sign petitions. It only goes to add to the upset that people feel at this time of uncertainty.
In times of uncertainty and change the only thing we can and should do is to place our trust in Our Lord and not in bricks and mortar. He is the One who is UNCHANGING.
Its easy for us to blame someone for all of this. We can blame the Bishop, or the Dean or the Parish Priest if it makes us feel better. But the reality of the situation in which we now find ourselves remains the same.
We have to work together. Pray for me as I do for you that we will have the necessary strengths and graces to work through the challenges that lie ahead.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


Contrary to rumours currently circulating 'He's got rid has got rid of the statues' I would just like to inform parishioners that the statues of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady have now been returned to the church after beng professionally repainted.
I am sure you will agree with me that they are a great improvement.


With effect from the weekend ofthe 6th/7th June the Mass times for the combined parish of St Joseph and St Marie will be as follows:

Saturday Vigil Mass at St Joseph 5:00pm
Sunday Morning Mass at St Joseph 9:15am
Sunday Morning Mass at St Marie 11:30am

Thursday, 14 May 2009


Dear Parishioners,

Of one thing we can be sure, the Church is constantly changing, and that it true of both the Universal Church and the local Church as well, in dioceses, deaneries and parishes.

June this year will see some significant changes in our deanery. After 23 years as Parish Priest of St Joseph’s Bury, Fr Morrow is retiring. There are also changes in other parts of our deanery, but this letter only outlines the implications of the changes for the Bury, Tottington and Ramsbottom area.

With Fr Morrow’s retirement, the Bishop has decided to amalgamate the Parishes of St Marie’s Bury and St Joseph’s and St Bede’s Bury, therefore forming a new Parish out of these two parishes.

With all amalgamations, and any changes in parish life, the overall provision of pastoral care and the Sunday Mass are paramount in the decision-making process. However, the work of a priest in a parish involves a lot more than just the Sunday Mass, it entails being involved in various chaplaincy works, celebration of other sacraments and presiding at other liturgies as well as a lot of other aspects of pastoral care.

As I am sure most people are aware, the number of active priests in the Diocese has drastically reduced in the past few years. This is as a result of fewer ordinations (e.g. in the past five years there have only been seven ordinations to the priesthood for Salford Diocese) whilst at the same time many more priests have retired and sadly many have also died.

In light of the projections for the situation over the next few years the Bishop asked the priests in the parishes in the Bury area to look at the provision of Mass and pastoral care, and to plan accordingly for the next five to ten years. We started this process, and quickly realised it is not an easy task. In order to be able to serve the needs of the five churches in the Bury area with the number of priests available to us now and over the next few years, we had to suggest several changes to the Bishop.

We wanted to be able to ask the people in the parishes about what would be the best Mass times for their parish etc, but, because the times of Masses in each parish has implications for the other parishes if the priests are going to be able to cover for each other in emergency and at holiday times, we have had to make some difficult decisions.

Therefore, from the 7th June this year, the parishes of St Marie’s and St Joseph’s, Bury, will become one parish, and together with Guardian Angels Bury, St Hilda’s Tottington, and St Joseph’s Ramsbottom they will become a cluster of parishes. This means that the clergy of these four parishes will be working together and providing support and cover for each other.

We have thought long and hard over the various ‘permutations’ of Mass times and the actual number of Masses we are able to provide within the Bury Area. We have taken into consideration how we can cover for each other, aware of the fact that at times we could still be celebrating several Masses on Sundays, and having to hope that there are no traffic hold ups if we are travelling between Churches!

Change is always hard for everyone, and we have had no option but to bite the bullet and make changes and some reductions, in order to be able to provide Sunday Masses in each of the five churches (four parishes) in our cluster. The changes affect all of the churches, and in presenting the changes to you we are hoping for your understanding in this matter.

In an ideal world we would have been able to keep everything exactly the same, and everyone’s most convenient/favourite Mass time in their Parish would have remained unchanged. But within the diocese as a whole we have reached the point where this is no longer feasible.

There is some good news. Fr Robin Colpman, who is one of the younger priests in the diocese has been appointed by the Bishop as assistant priest into our deanery. His appointment is a little unusual. The Bishop has appointed him to me as Dean, but he will live at St Joseph’s Presbytery, Bury. His ministry will be at Fairfield Hospital and St Gabriel’s High School. Although he will live at St Joseph’s Presbytery, Fr Robin is not the assistant priest in the newly created parish of St Marie’s and St Joseph’s – Fr Francis Wadsworth is to take on the responsibility for the newly created parish, so all matters relating to either of the two churches of St Marie’s or St Joseph’s should be addressed to him.

The new Mass times which the Bishop has now approved, for the cluster of parishes detailed below will take effect from the weekend Saturday 6th June/Sunday 7th June.

On behalf of the Priest in the cluster,

Fr Paul J Cannon.
Dean of Mount Carmel Deanery.