Friday, 15 November 2013


Please remember in your prayers baby Adam who was baptised recently during Mass at St Joseph's.  Remember all his parents and godparents and all the family.


Greta McNicholl
Kathleen Suckley
The Dead of the Philippine Typhoon

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


I was saddened to the core when I saw this headline a few days ago.  I was reminded of the words of Pope Benedict XVI during his speech at Westminster Hall

'I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance.
There are those who would advocate that the voice of religion be silenced, or at least relegated to the purely private sphere.
There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none.
And there are those who argue - paradoxically with the intention of eliminating discrimination - that Christians in public roles should be required at times to act against their conscience.
These are worrying signs of a failure to appreciate not only the rights of believers to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, but also the legitimate role of religion in the public square.
I would invite all of you, therefore, within your respective spheres of influence, to seek ways of promoting and encouraging dialogue between faith and reason at every level of national life.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


[The homily that I gave at the 11:30am on Sunday last was delivered 'viva voce' without notes.  Here is a rough written summary of what I said]

Its funny how having prepared a homily for Mass things that happen to us before preaching it change what we had planned to say.  One such case is today.

Having come back from celebrating the 9:15am Mass at St Joseph's I had a quick look at my Facebook page and saw this from one of my friends.

Having read the status update from Philip I began to think.  What would I have done in that situation? Would I have helped Philip or would I have remained silent with the other passengers?  What would have done?  Would you have turned a blind eye, got off at the next stop even if you didn't intend to?  It is not an easy question to answer.
It is very easy for us to be ''Good Catholics'' in church.  We are all gathered here for the same purpose.  No one is really going to challenge our views.  No one is going to make us feel uncomfortable to the point where we have to make a choice.  No.  Its easy to be a Christian in church. 
We can, like the Pharisee in today's Gospel pride ourselves on being virtuous.  We can think that we are the good ones because we have come to Mass.  We are ''good Catholics'' because we contribute to the collection, we help out at the piety stall, we help with cleaning the church, we do the flowers, we are willing to help Father should he call upon us etc etc.  Yes aren't we good?  Let's give ourselves a pat on the back.  With the Pharisee of today's Gospel let us be thankful that we are not like the rest of society. 
The danger is that we can pride ourselves on being virtuous on a Sunday, but if what we do here at Mass does not have a bearing on the way we act the rest of the week then we are missing the point.  Ad you have heard me say before:
Mr Murphy went to Mass
He went there every Sunday
But Mr Murphy went to hell
For what he did on Monday.
It is not inside the walls church where we are called to live out our faith.  It is outside the four walls of this church.  It is in the school playground, it is listening to a boring university lecture, it is in the council chambers, in the supermarket, our places of work and our places of recreation.  This is where we are called to bear witness to the things that we do here in church.  As St Augustine said we are called to 'become what we receive.'  We are to take the gospel onto the streets.
But taking the gospel onto the streets is a risky business. People will disagree with us.  People will laugh at us and think we are weirdo's for having the values that we do.  But none the less it is what we are called to do.
My friend Philip is the National President of the YCW - the Young Christian Workers.  A group of young people who are not afraid to stand up for there beliefs, who are not afraid to take their faith onto the streets - and as we see from Philip's Facebook status will encounter opposition and even violence because of it. 
Our faith and our beliefs are too precious to be kept locked up inside the walls of this or any other church.  We need to be out there and witnessing to our faith.
Pray for Philip.  Pray for all our young people and members of the YCW that they will continue to courageously witness to their faith.  Let us also pray for ourselves that we too will have the courage to follow their good example.

Saturday, 19 October 2013


With the advent of yet another supermarket in Bury do we not run the risk of being spoilt for choice?  What are the criteria for choosing which supermarket you go to?  Cost? Range of products? Value for money? Distance from home? Opening hours?  All these things influence the supermarket that we choose for the weekly or monthly ’big shop.’

If we are not careful we can apply nearly all the same criteria to the church that we go to, or don't go to.  I have often heard people say things such as: ‘I go to St So and So because the Mass is at a convenient time.  Oh we go to St So and So because the Mass is quick.  I go on Saturday night so that I don’t have to go on Sunday. We go to St So and So because the priest is nice.  We go to St So and So because we like the singing.  We go to St So and So because we don't like the priest in our own parish.’

Yet all these considerations about which Mass to attend and which church to go to our very subjective. Surely we don’t go to Mass because we like the priest or the Mass is quick or the church is warm? These things may help but they should not be the primary focus when we are going to Mass.  Surely the Mass means more to us than purely human considerations?  Maybe it doesn’t?  Maybe going to Mass is just something that we do like going to the supermarket for the ’big shop’ an we will go to wherever is the most convenient to us that the time.

The Mass is far more important for it to be simply something else that we have to fit in to our already crammed lives.  The Second Vatican Council said that the Mass was the ‘source and summit of the Church’s Liturgy’ Surely it should also be the central point of our lives from which all our other actions flow? 

Is the Mass the centre of your life or just something to be fitted in like doing the shopping?

Friday, 18 October 2013


Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of
Carol Christine Walker
who died on Tuesday. 
Carol is the mother of Neil Walker, the Diocesan Representative of Latin Mass Society for Salford and Leeds Diocese.
Do also remember Neil and the family in your prayers at this sad time.  The only contact I have for Neil at the moment is an e mail address:  I will endeavour to find further contact details.

Friday, 11 October 2013


Last week we welcomed Christopher Robson from Aid to the Church In Need to our parish to tell us about the charity's work and to make an appeal for much needed funds.
Once again I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our parishioners.  A total of £967.50 was raised and there is still some more money to come in.
Christopher has written to thank everyone and I copy his letter here.
Dear Father Wadsworth,
I am writing to you and the parishioners of St Marie and St Joseph for their great generosity to Aid to the Church in Need.  The total sum contributed was £967.50.  This comprised of three components: £400.50 in ninety three gift aid envelopes; £331.19 in loose cash; and £235.81 from the sale of merchandise. 
The charity's priority at the present is the Middle East.  Across the region ancient apostolic communities are under sustained pressure, which includes violence, to emigrate from their homelands.  We are attempting in modest ways to keep the Church functioning in the area, and thereby to stem the outflow of Christians.
I very much enjoyed the three Masses I attended, and the choice of hymns was excellent.  Also seeing so many families coming to church as part of an induction programme - and the very important business of reaching out to the lapsed - commanded my admiration.  While hearing the Hail Holy Queen and the Prayer to St Michael at the end of Mass boosted everyone's morale.  I might add that your proficiency is sign language is formidable.
Is there any chance that two of your parishioners, one from St Joseph's and one from St Marie's, could be persuaded to be ACN Parish Reps?  All that is involved is sticking the occasional poster on the notice board at the back of church.
If any more money from the appeal comes in, I should be grateful if you could forward it to my home address.
After I left St Marie's on Sunday, I drove to Shuttleworth, and went walking in the piece of countryside that lies between Rochdale and the Bury- Ramsbottom area.  Taking a south easterly track I came to a reservoir on the Rochdale road, and turned southwards to Ashworth Hall.  Then I went across the Cheeseden Brook, and had to negotiate a barbed wire fence before I could get to Birtle.  Proceedings after that involved countering the south westerly bias of communications, and making it back to Shuttleworth.  Occasionally it was disheartening and frustrating, but in spite of a series of checks and disappointments, I made it in the end.
My best wishes to you, and your fellow parishioners.  Thank you for making me welcome.
Yours sincerely
Christopher Robson

Friday, 4 October 2013


TONIGHT 4th October
Mass is usually offered in the
Extraordinary Form each Friday at 7:30pm

Thursday, 3 October 2013


St Gabriel's High School
will be holding their
Annual Coffee Morning
from 10:00am till 12:30pm on Saturday 19th October
Admission 50p per person or £1 per family
Mr Smith, the headteacher writes 'I would like to invite all pupils (past and present), parents and supporters of the school to join us next Saturday morning to celebrate our 52nd Coffee Morning.  A wide range of stalls, games, prizes and refreshments for all the family.  (You can even enter your pet into the pet show!).  Any donations of bottles, toiletries, groceries, toys, books, cakes, jewellery, chocolate, Bric a Brac and CD's before the day would be greatly appreciated.  All funds raised go to 'Bury African Outreach' 


Someone once asked Canon McBride 'What do Canons do then?' And he replied 'Damage!' 
Here are three to choose from!!!  The picture is taken in the Underground Basilica of Pius X as we prepared for the Blessed Sacrament Procession during our diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes.
To the left Monsignor Canon Anthony Kay, Vicar General.  To the right Canon Anthony McBride, Dean of the Cathedral and Episcopal Vicar for Formation and yours truly in the middle in the choir dress of the titular chaplains of the Lourdes Basilica.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Yesterday I visited our High School - St Gabriel's to meet with the head teacher Mr Smith and some of the other local priests and the newly appointed lay chaplain.
We discussed how we can help and encourage our students in the faith particularly in the transition from Primary School to High School. 
We also visited some of the Year Seven Classes.  It was good to see some of the children we had know at primary school settling into life at St Gabriel's and even more touching that they recognised us too!!!
As we looked around the school we noticed the many improvements that have taken place over the summer providing an even better learning atmosphere for our students.
Parents of children currently at the two primary schools in our parish I encourage you to send your children to St Gabriel's when they come to leave Primary School.  You and they will not be disappointed.  As Catholics we need to value and support our Catholic Education System and to support our local schools.
Take a look at the website of the school:

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


The rest of our holidays took us to Nevers to pray before the body of St Bernadette
Solesmes, the home, some might say, of Gregorian Chant
Bordeaux and Perigueux
and Bruges, famous for mussels and fish soup.


From Champagne Country we went in search of mustard and arrived at Dijon.  A couple of photos taken from our visit.


Having completed the Lourdes pilgrimage I returned to the parish briefly to say hello to my supply priest Mgr Teodor Poloczek, do some laundry and to collect the car.
From there I journeyed to Wells in Somerset to pick up my travelling companion. Fr. Philip Thomas, the Rector of Wells.
From Wells we journeyed across the channel to Douai and the place of the English College.  Sadly most of the churches linked with the English College were either closed or in restoration so there are no pictures.  We did however invoke the prayers of the English Martyrs for dear old England.

Rheims Cathedral
Having spent the night in Douai we travelled the next morning to Rheims.  I remember reading a poem for my English Literature Exam entitled 'The Jackdaw of Rheims.'  I can't recall much of the poem now, but it was good to visit the cathedral city that it was based on.
Each Sunday and Holyday the Parish Priest is bound to offer Mass for the people committed to his care - the Missa Pro Populo - as it is often called.  Rheims Cathedral was to be the church that Father and I would offer Sunday Mass remembering all the people of our parishes.
Rheims is also in the heart of champagne country, so simply because we could, we had a glass of champagne after Mass in the piazza in front of the cathedral. 

The Rector of Wells in holiday mood!!!


At the end of July a good number of priests, young people and laity from all corners of the diocese  travel together with our Bishop to Our Lady's Shrine in Lourdes and this this year was no exception.

Here are a few photos from the Pilgrimage.  A more detailed account of the pilgrimage can be found on our diocesan website.

The Diocesan Candle and other group candles are processed to the Grotto. 
The candles will remain burning at the Grotto, taking all our intentions to Our Lady during the year.

Some of our young people near the candle stands

Bishop Brain shares a joke with some pilgrims

Fr Frankie Mulgrew, one of our newly ordained priests gives his first blessing to a pilgrim

Members of the Sr Mary Kelly Lourdes Group
 (past pupils of Holy Cross College)



As a 'thank you' for serving throughout the year we take the altar servers on a trip.  This year we went to Light Water Valley, near Ripon.  We were blessed with a glorious day and the children and the adults had a very enjoyable time.  My thanks go to all the helpers and those who organised the day.


After the ordination ceremony, the newly ordained, their families and guests returned to the seminary.  The new priests were busying giving their First Blessing to all who wished to receive it.  Once the blessings had been given we assembled in the seminary chapel to sing the Te Deum - the Church's great hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God for his blessings and especially for giving us five new priests. 
The singing the Te Deum was concluded with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament after which all went to a celebration dinner.  The evening concluded with a marvellous fireworks display.
The image of the Infant of Prague on the altar in the seminary chapel


Being present at the ordinations was a great honour.  It was great to see so many young men dedicating their lives to God and the service of our Holy Mother the Church.
To the right of this picture we see Abbe Montjean who was ordained a subdeacon
On the Wednesday morning, in a liturgy lasting two and quarter hours we witnessed eleven men ordained to the subdiaconate and ten men ordained to the diaconate.
On the Thursday morning, His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke ordained five men to the Sacred Priesthood.  Please keep these five young priests, brothers of min, in your prayers as they embark on their ministry in the vineyard of the Lord.

One of the newly ordained gives his first blessing to one of the seminarians

A group photo of the English Delegation to the Ordinations

I should point out that I am grateful Michael Haynes for taking the photos that appear in these posts.


At the beginning of July I took the opportunity of a few days retreat and prayer whilst attending the ordinations of some of my friends who are members of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

The Institute has its seminary at Gricigliano in Florence.  The main ceremonies of the 'ordination week' take place at the church in the centre of Florence.   It was whilst at the ordinations I had the pleasure of meeting his Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke.

From a previous post you will recall that  I have also become an affiliate priest of the Institute.  At a ceremony that took place in the ceremony chapel I received the Cross of St Francis de Sales from the Prior General of the Institute, Monsignor Gilles Wach. 


A few weeks ago Father Ray Blake at St Mary Magdalene, Brighton wrote a thought provoking piece about the poor.  The journalists got hold of the article and tore it and the good Father to pieces.  As a result he had a little break from blogging.  I am happy to  report that he is not back blogging.  Do go over and have a read of his blog:
Some of you may be wondering if I was suffering the same fate as Fr. Blake ad there have not been many updates on the blog for a while.  The answer is thankfully no.  I have just been rather busy and unfortunately updating the blog does not always come at the top of the list of things to be done.  Hopefully I can rectify the situation with a few posts now and then return to more regular postings thereafter.

Monday, 22 July 2013


As part of my retreat and attendance at the ordinations of friends in Gricgliano recently I became an Affliate Priest of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.  This means I try to live my life and Priesthood according the the spirituality of St Francis de Sales and the customs of the Institute.  I have to admit, however that I am still more inclined to use the gallons of vinegar than the teaspoon of honey!

As part of the ceremony of enrolment I made the following promise at the hands of Mgr Gilles Wach, Prior General and Founder of the ICKSP.

Ego, Francis Wadsworth hac aggregatione Instituti Christi Regis Summi Sacerdotis Instituto eiusdem constitutiones servaturum esse promitto, Christo Rege adiuvante, caeli Regina intercedente et Patronis sanctis Instituti succurentibus.

 Having made the promise, Mgr Wach then presented me with the Cross of St Francis de Sales.

Mgr Wach, Prior General and Founder

Monday, 24 June 2013


A few weeks ago a couple came to church requesting baptism for their child.  It was only at the end of the Mass that I realised that they were both deaf and used sign language to communicate.  The child to be baptised and her older sibling are both hearing.

God moves in mysterious ways.  When I was a teenager I was bored one evening and looked thriugh the pages of the local paper and came across an advert for classes in sign language.  It looked as if it might be a useful skill to have so I went along to the classes.

At one of the classes we had to talk about our interests and our work.  I made the ''mistake'' of saying that I was thinking about becoming a priest.  I say mistake because unbeknown to me our teacher was a Catholic herself and involved in the Catholic Deaf Association.  Thus began my interest in liturgical sign language.

Unfortunately I do not have many opportinities to use the sign language I learnt all those years ago and have become a bit rusty.  With a deaf couple now coming to Mass regularly it has re ignited my interest in communication with deaf people.

Over the last few weeks I have been signing some of the Mass at St Marie's.  I hope that this has been of some help to those who use this language as a form of communication. 

If any one who has a skill in this area and would be interested helping at Mass then please do get in touch.  Perhaps we could form a group for anyone who might be interested in learning sign language. 

Sunday, 23 June 2013


After their First Holy Communion the children of St Marie's had a little party in school to celebrate this great day. 

Here are some pictures from the celebration.  A party for the children of St Joseph's is planned in the near future.  Pictures to follow.