Over the last few weeks two of our senior priests have retired and we wish, in particular, Roger Clarke from Upton, a long and happy retirement. We welcome back to Upton, Fr Lucas who seems to have done a spell in every parish in the Diocese since he celebrated his Silver Jubilee of ordination with us in Sacred Heart.
Fr Tony Myers retired from Timperley and he is replaced by a former curate from Sacred Heart, Fr Pat Munroe who, at the age of 66 has been asked to take on this big parish.
Pat has been asked to move from Stockport to accommodate a Fr Lee Kenyon, a priest of the Ordinariate who moves in to Edgeleywith his wife and 5 children.
Fr Bill Fitzgerald moves to Marple to replace Fr Marianus who has retired through ill health. Bill will look after two parishes divided by the busy A6, a nightmare drive at any time of day.
Finally, in all these complicated moves, we welcome Fr Tom Cunnah who will work in the Parish of the Holy Apostles & Martyrs, Wallasey. Tom was ordained last year and has completed his studies in Rome. A lovely man.
The complication of these moves makes me feel a little sad. Please remember in your prayer the priests of my generation still working in the Diocese at ages when others would have already retired and asked, like Pat, to take on more and not less responsibility.
Remember, too, the parishioners facing change this Summer. It is a sad reality that they have no say in who comes to join their communities.
The problem is, of course the age profile of our clergy, the reduction in numbers of people putting themselves forward for ministry and the theological understanding of the nature of Sacramental Ministry.
There are many solutions that have been aired over recent years, some that could be made effective very quickly.
Pope Francis has asked the Bishops’ Conferences around the world to consider this as a problem and to make recommendation to him in Rome. Let’s pray that they do just that, listen to the Holy Spirit, and make ministry available to more people.
Just a thought!