Tuesday, 26 February 2013


I received this thank you card from a couple I married last year with the inscription:
We would like to thank you for the wonderful wedding ceremony you performed for us.  It was everything we had hoped for and more.  The ceremony was so meaningful and personal, it was a truly wonderful way for us to begin our life together.  We loved it and can't thank you enough.'

Monday, 25 February 2013


Here is a new video from the Church of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena, New Brighton.  Please keep in the Institue of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in your prayers.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


In my eagerness to publish the good news about one of our primary schools I forgot to sway which school it was.  The recent OFSTED took place at St Joseph and St Bede's School.  Once again congratulations to all involved in achieving this great result.

Sunday, 17 February 2013


Pray for the repose of the souls of those who have recently died

Fr. Frederick Watson
Mgr Michael McConnell
Joan Evans
Joseph Tomlinson
Pauline Rostron
Errol Baptiste
Kenneth Fitzgerald
Albert Holt
Mary Howard


There is one word that strikes fear into the heart of every teacher and that is OFSTED or in the words of Gervaise Phinn 'the off egg inspection.'

Every school legally has to be inspected ot make sure that the standards of teaching, the quality of the pupils learning and the pastoral care of the children are up to standard.

Recently one of our parish primary schools had such an inspection.  I am delighted to say that the overall outcome of the inspection was good.  I am delighted for the headteacher and her dedicated staff at this result.  The school has improved in leaps and bounds since the last inspection.  This shows itself not only in the results of the pupils but also in the quality of teaching and leadership of the school.  I am proud to be the Parish Priest of such a good school.  We can all be proud of the achievements of all the schools and education establishments in our parish.  Well done to you all for the ministry that you undertake in the name of the Church.

I am confident that the next inspection will deem us to be OUTSTANDING!!!

Here below are the summary comments of the report.  The full report will be  publsihed at www.ofsted.gov.uk  A copy of the report will be sent to all parents of the school on Monday (18th February 2013).

This is a good school.

 This is a caring school where all groups of pupils achieve well because teaching is good and sometimes outstanding.

 Teaching is well planned. Lessons are interesting with a wide variety of learning activities.

 The school has improved considerably since the previous inspection due to the headteacher’s strong leadership.

 Leadership and management, including that of the governors, are good and managers at all levels work well together and regularly check how well pupils are learning and being taught.

 Good quality spiritual, moral, and cultural development provides pupils with a rich variety of learning experiences and as a result, they behave well and are polite, helpful and reflective.

 Pupils make good progress as they move through the school and consistently achieve above average standards in mathematics and English at the end of Year 6.

 Children who enter the Early Years Foundation Stage receive a good start to their education, as a result of the stimulating teaching and high levels of care they receive.

 Pupils feel very safe and secure and enjoy coming to school, with the result that they attend regularly.

Saturday, 16 February 2013


We join in prayer and song for Our Beloved Holy Father.  I notice that this video clip has a verse missing so here it is:

For like the sparks of unseen fire,
That speak along the magic wire,
From home to home, from heart to heart,
These words of countless children dart:
God Bless our Pope etc


This weekend the Bishop has written a Pastoral Letter for the beginning of Lent

Dear Family of God in Salford Diocese,

“... the Church ... clasping sinners to its bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal”. (Porta Fidei 6)

I have a lot of time for Ash Wednesday: coming to kneel and receive ashes is a sign to ourselves and a witness to others that we want to remain within the door of faith. It is an occasion when we clearly see the Church clasping us, sinners, to her bosom. We can all come and receive ashes and wear them confidently as a sign. Maybe as a sign that we want to be open to the gift of faith – seeking the fullness of the gift of faith: maybe we need to grow in faith - deepen our faith and let it mature: and maybe we want to proclaim our faith more positively through our daily lives. We begin the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday by queuing for ashes with all these reasons and others in our minds and hearts.

Ash Wednesday is a symbol of the Door of Faith, which opens out onto the weeks of Lent: and Lent gives us the opportunity to purify ourselves through prayer – “if your lips confess that Jesus is Lord...then you will be saved” (Romans 10). But we mustn’t be what we might call ‘fair weather only’ in our prayers; not everyone who calls ‘Lord, Lord’, enters the kingdom of God. We must want to seek out and search for God: persist and persevere in prayer. This takes discipline, and mortification is a way to develop the discipline of seeking God at all times in our lives, and not just when we think we need him. Lent gives us the opportunity to discipline ourselves in simple ways: to offer amends for the times when we have not lived in faith. “I’m sorry, Lord: accept my offering.”

Lent also turns our minds to the fact that the Lord is the one who truly makes amends to the Father for all our sins and that his generous love for us was motive enough to lay down his life on Calvary – “all belong to the same Lord, who is rich enough, however many ask for his help.” (Rom 10) So in Lent we also give alms in thanks for the riches that God has already shared with us, and because we cannot say we love God if we ignore others, loved by God, who are in need.

May Lent, in this Year of Faith, lead you deeper into the mystery of faith.

+ Terence J Brain
Bishop of Salford
Given at Wardley Hall on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11th February 2013,
and appointed to be read in all churches and chapels of the diocese 
on the weekend of 16th/17th February 2103


Sunday, 10 February 2013


I was asked by one of the parishioners today if they could have a copy of my homily from the 11:30am Mass.  I explained that most of what I said was delivered without a script so that would be difficult.  I did say that I would try and put my thoughts together in writing for the blog so as to reach a wider audience.

So now that the public worship of the Church is complete (2 Masses in the Ordinary Form, Baptism, One Mass in the Extraordinary Form in a neighbouring diocese, Vespers and Compline) I sit with a glass of Merlot (after all it is Quinquagesima Sunday) and attempt to put my ramblings from this morning into text. 


There is the story told of a priest who was having a disagreement with one of his parishioners.  At this point you are thinking that Father is making this up.  Surely a parish priest would never have a disagreement with his parishioners.  The disagreement between the priest and parishioner was overheard by another parishioner who said ' I think Father has misunderstood to-day's Gospel - the part where Our Lord says 'Come follow me and I will make you vicious old men.'

That sense of feeling unworthy about our calling is always there.  Sometimes we do something, not because we would like to do it, or because there is glamour, fulfilment or pleasure in doing a job, but simply because it is the thing we are called to do. We are the right people, at the right time, in the right place. And even if we are not the best people, we are the ones called to do the task anyway. This is the situation in our readings today.

Isaiah is called to be the Lord's messenger, but he acknowledges that he is unworthy, a man of unclean lips. He knows how far short he falls of the holiness of God, which he has just glimpsed. And in today's Gospel, Peter is confronted with the words and the power of Christ, and he responds in a similar way to Isaiah: "Leave me Lord, I am a sinful man."

Each of us can surely identify with Isaiah and Peter. Yet the Lord continues to callus to do his work, even though we judge ourselves to be unworthy or not the best choice available. God's call is a mystery. It is always a gift: we do not choose him, rather he chooses us. Just as with Paul: though not an apostle, one of the Twelve, God nevertheless chose him to do his work, even though he was a "late arrival". And just as it is God who calls us, so also it is God who gives us our own particular mission: God decides, not us. For we cannot decide to follow the Lord and then try to tell him where we should go!

The more  observant among you will have noticed that for the last few few weeks we have had an older altar server with us.  I was hoping that one of his friends would join him this week too, but unfortunately he has has to go into work at the Christie Hospital. 

So to put you out of your misery he is a friend of mine who is now studying at the University of Manchester.  Our paths crossed a couple of years ago at the Cathedral and we struck up a conversation.  At that time he let slip that he was thinking of becoming a priest and turned to me for a little guidance.  I hope and pray that he does not follow me too closely so as to pick up my bad example living the priesthood.  My dear people I commend him to your prayers and the other members of our diocesan vocations group: Luke, Eddie, Patrick and Nathan.  Pray that, if it is the Lord's will they will become holy and dedicated priests. The priests who com after us have got to be better than the ones we have at the moment and in that case, my dear son you won't have a difficult task there. 

Being in the right place at the right time.  I am reminded of words that our previous bishop, Bishop Kelly said to some of the priests the diocese.  'For about half of my priests I will be the wrong bishop.  Wrong because I am not progressive enough, wrong because I am too progressive.  Wrong because I am not traddy enough.  Wrong because I am too traddy.' 

Reflecting on his words I have come to the conclusion that for some of the people in this parish I will be the wrong priest.  Wrong because I am too happy clappy.  Wrong because I am too traddy.  Wrong because I I am not my predecessor.  Yet for some I will be the best priest because I am not happy clappy, that I am traddy and for some simply because I am not my predecessor. 

I remember once scandalising the present Bishop of Shrewsbury by telling him that my devotion was not to the Holy Cure of Ars.  When he asked why I told him my devotion was for the poor priest who followed him.  'Father Vianney had eighteen hours of confessions.  Your having ten.  Father Vianney lived on moudly potatoes.  You keep going to the supermarket.'   My dear son, whatever we do as priests will be wrong in some peoples eyes.  You better get used to that! 

God calls each one of us in a particular way. We might hear God's voice in the depths of prayer, like Isaiah, or through a dramatic intervention in our lives, like Paul. Most probably, though, most of us hear God's voice in the ordinary routine of daily life and work, like Peter. For most of us, it is in the context of our existing commitments and life situations that our following of the Lord will be worked out.

Whether it takes us to the other side of the world or keeps us in our home town and neighbourhood, the encounter with God will always have an effect on us, if we allow it. It will take away our sin, like it did with Isaiah, it will turn our lives around completely, like Paul. God's call always transforms us, moves us on and is life-giving, as long as we respond with generosity and trust.

My dear son tomorrow we celebrate the fesat of Our Lady of Lourdes - a french town that as you know holds a special place in my heart not least because it was there that I first heard the call to become a priest.  The advice given to me I pass on to you, my son:  'Entrust yourself and your vocation to Her and you won't go far wrong.'  And my dear people I encourage all of you to entrust yourselves to Her - the Immaculate One.  After all if Her prayers can help a miserable priest like me they can help anyone. 

Thursday, 7 February 2013


Today in Poland is known as Tlusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday). It is the Thursday before Ash Wednesday and is a day of feasting before the penitential season of Lent begins.

On this day the traditional deep fried pastries (something like doughnuts) are enjoyed throughout Poland and by Polish People now living abroad. 
The traditional reason for making pączki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because their consumption was forbidden by Catholic fasting practices during Lent.

The tradition of Tlusy Czwartek and Paczki is very similiar to our Shrove (Pancake)Tuesday - a day of feasting before the rigours of Lent begin the following day.


I share with you a post from Fr. Simon Henry's blog Offerimus Tibi.  I agree whole heartedly with Father's comments.  Please pray for your priests.

I want to tell you of the experiences of a person who is part of a minority that often experiences discrimination and and inequality, indeed sometimes physical violence.

He has been laughed at and shouted at in the street; he once had a glass of beer thrown at him; another time, because of the way he was dressed, had someone march up to him and with threats of aggression ask if he was a member of this minority. He is often uncomfortable in identifying himself in public, for example travelling on a train or at the shops, because of people staring or pointing. His right to hold views contrary to the majority in society around him is often called into question and indeed characterised as unacceptable. He often finds that he is casually lampooned in popular comedy; it is considered completely acceptable on Red Nose day and the like to dress up in tasteless mock-ups of what he wears to identify himself.

To what minority does he belong? Is this a person of colour? Gay? Foreign? Transgendered? Muslim? Disabled?

No, these are not the cause of the above incidents. The person is me and the trigger for the above inequalities and prejudice is the fact that I am a Catholic Priest.

The minority whose rights and way of life need to be protected in law in our modern society are Christians. Our society is moving very quickly towards a scenario - indeed it is already there in many areas - where it is impossible to offer, even just criticism, of any religious or secular minority except the Christian. Those who have suffered discrimination in the past might be thought to be the very ones to protect all those in similar situations but history has often had the lesson that this is not so. Our laws can go some way to limiting human sinfulness but they can also get it wrong for human law does not necessarily equate to what is good and right. Only Divine Law can do that.

I am not alone in saying so!

Cardinal George a few months ago spoke of secularism as part of a “much larger issue” than any single campaign question. The secularized world, he added, is “on the wrong side of the only history that finally matters.” He observed that strong anti-religious sentiments have emerged clearly during last year’s political campaigns in the USA, and said that he had been quoted accurately in predicting that “that I expected to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”

Cardinal Keith O'Brien was brave enough to speak out and then labelled "Bigot of the Year" by Stonewall, an organisation well-known for its tolerance and generosity that would never seek to marginalise or ridicule those in disagreement with it.

Saturday, 2 February 2013


Please pray for the repose of the souls of those who have recently died

Joan Poole
Mary Howard
Joan Evans
Susan Tobin
Aileen Dunne
Bernadette Andrews
Terence Vose
Albert Holt
Patricia Shorrock
Albert Kelly
Michael Wosser


For the past few months three boys from St Marie's have been traing to become altar servers.  Now that they have gone through the initial training they come to serve at the 11:30am Mass on Sundays. 

If any one else would like to undertake this important ministry in the life of the church then please have a word with Father Francis


Speaking of Oratories it is with great pleasure that I post about the soon to be erected Manchester Oratory at St Chad's Church, Cheetham Hill.

For over twenty years Father Ray Matus and a community of priests and brothers have staffed the Church of the Holy Name, Manchster after the Jesuits left.  With great care and love the church was restored to its former glory. 

Many priests of the diocese are grateful for the confessional ministry that was exercised at the Holy Name.  Whether it was Sacramental Absolution, chat or a moan the Fathers were on hand to offer a word of sage advice, supprt and encourage and all done with that humour that is so characteristic of their Holy Patron St Philip Neri.

Late last year the Bishop of Salford gave his blessing to the establishment of the Oratory of St Phililp Neri in the diocese.  It has been decided that the Oratory will be based at St Chad's, Cheetham Hill and the community have been serving at St Chad's since the first Sunday of Advent.

Do please keep our new Oratorian Community in your prayers.

Frather Ray Matus, Superior
Father Christopher Hilton, Parish Priest
Brother Andrew Lyons
Brother Richard Bailey
Brother David Vella


During the Christmas Holidays we also welcomed Fr. Patrick Doyle to our parish.  Father Doyle is a member of the Community of Priests and Brothers that staffs the parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, South Kensington, better known as Bromptom Oratory.   Father has family around the Bury area and when he comes to visit them he comes to St Marie's to offer his daily Mass.  It is also nice to see him and catch up with news of the Church in the 'torrid south.'


After a long gap away from blogging i thought it was time for a little update. 

Between Christmas and New Year I was host to a seminarian and a Religious Brother from America.  We got to know erach other through a mutual friend, Fr Sean Riley. 

Philip, after serving three years as a Naval Officer was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer.  He is now a seminarian preparing for ordination to the priesthood.  You can read more about him on his blog www.philipgerardjohnson.blogspot.co.uk

Fra David is a Mercedarian Friar who will soon be ordained Deacon.  You can read more about the Mercedarians here www.orderofmercy.org

Having left the US on 27th December their travels took them to In a tour of these Isles that took them to Hampton Hill, London, Farnborough Abbey, Wales, Bury and Scotland.  Rumour has it they only came to Bury to see the world famous market and enjoy some black pudding!

Please keep them both in your prayers and they continue in the Lord's service.  I look forward to the day when they come back here to offer Mass for us.