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.

Monday, 4 May 2009


Yesterday we held our annual Crowning of Our Lady and Procession. The children preparing for Confirmation and First Holy Communion were involved in the crowning ceremonies. I will try to get some more pictures from the parents to add to the blog.

Many thanks to all who came to the ceremony. My special thanks to Mrs Farrow of the Catholic Prep who taught the children a hymn in honour of Our Lady to sing at the end of the devotions.