Walking in Familiar Footsteps
As I sit thinking where I have arrived to serve as Parish Priest, in the week that has passed quickly, I cannot help but reflect about the past 25 years of Priesthood, of caring for the family of God and ponder where this journey of service and generosity for the Lord has brought me, of the memories of the past to the present day and hopefully to prepare me for the unfolding of the future hopes and blessings to come with the help of God.
I began my journey as a Priest, after ordination in Ireland in 1991, coming to England and serving the Parish community of St. Theresa’s, Crossgates, Leeds, beginning as an assistant priest with Canon Denis Tangney, who was parish priest at the time, where I remained until 1995.
In those four years of Priestly service in Crossgates, l prayed, listened, celebrated and supported many of the parish family under a great and committed spiritual guidance and wisdom from Canon Tangney and with many great friends and neighbours I made while serving a great parish community. I will always be grateful for those years of foundation which, I think, prepared me in every way to take on a new responsibility of parish leadership, being appointed as Priest in Charge/Parish Priest to Chickenley & Thornhill in Dewsbury in August of 1995.
And so began a new journey of faith, discovery and Priestly service, at a new destination, meeting wonderful, generous, kind and faithful people to make up the Parish community, which I served for four years. And so an opportunity came in 1999, where I was asked to take on a new responsibility yet again, and return to Leeds, this time to West Leeds, to Priestly service and leadership once again to Bramley (and later would be added Stanningley) to care for and support the people of that Parish for 9 years, once more meeting the ‘Salt of the Earth’ and sharing many a story of faith and of life in every moment being a moment of grace.
Then I was asked once more to take up roots and move to take up a new appointment as Parish Priest in Bradford, where I met the greatest and kindest of people who supported and cared for me, as I humbly cared for them as a Good Shepherd of the flock of Eccleshill & Idle, for the last 8 years, where many a prayer, celebration, kind word of support and friendship was always spoken and shared by all who were part of that parish family and where I was honoured to celebrate my Silver Jubilee of Priesthood recently with such a loving, friendly and prayerful community.
And now I find myself having been lead back by a holy compass to walk in familiar footsteps, in one sense, in this area of East Leeds, but I am very aware of taking on a Priestly leadership to care for the Parish Family of this great patron named as Blessed John Henry Newman, encompassing St. Gregory’s, St. Theresa’s and Corpus Christi, a holy trinity of East Leeds together, to support, befriend and pray for one another and to continue to show the greatest of care of service and example to one another as family, friend, neighbour and stranger in the example of Jesus.
I look forward to meeting some old friends and acquaintances and also making new friends and acquaintances and walking over old footprints and making new footprints in the sand of parish life, with the help, prayers and support of a wonderful Parish Team and the love and support and generosity of heart of our Parish Family together.
Keep me in your prayers as we journey to the future together,
God Bless to All,