Please pray for Br Adam Fairbairn who received the habit of St Philip on Monday evening. He is pictured below with the Provost of the Oxford Oratory, Fr Daniel Seward. Br Adam is from Tadcaster and was at All Saints' School before studying Business Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He has been living and working at St Wilfrid's as a Pastoral Assistant since Christmas.
At the end of September or in early October we will be welcoming two more priests to York to help here at St Wilfrid’s and at St Joseph’s.
Fr David Standen is a priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. He is presently Parish Priest of St Patrick’s in Stafford. Fr David is no stranger to York. His stepmother lives in Wetherby and he has been a regular visitor over the years.
Fr Mark Drew is a priest of the Diocese of Sens-Auxerre in France, though he is originally from Liverpool. He is presently working as an assistant priest in St Helen’s. Fr Mark has just finished a doctorate in Ecumenical and Patristic Theology at the Institut Catholique in Paris.
As Bishop Terence wrote in his Pastoral Letter to St Wilfrid's and St Joseph's this weekend, St Joseph’s and St Wilfrid’s will soon begin the process of joining together as one parish though it is envisaged that each church will keep its own community identity.
Fr David will live at St Joseph’s as Priest-in-Charge so that the church will continue to have a resident priest. Fr Mark will have his own flat in York. Fr David, Fr Mark, Fr Richard and Fr Nicholas will all minister in both St Wilfrid’s and St Joseph’s. This arrangement will continue (God willing!) for the next three years.
This will allow time for a number of things to happen.
There will be time for the parishioners of St Wilfrid’s and St Joseph’s to get used to having a number of different priests ministering to them and for everyone to get to know each other before the two parishes are united as one. It will give us all time to see what can be done better together and what things are best left to the individual churches. It will give the fledgling Oratorian community in York a chance to grow. The new priests will also be available for supplies and help with other chaplaincy roles in and around York.
The Fathers of the Oxford Oratory had hoped to be able to spare two priests for York from the beginning. We did not foresee that Fr Robert would be asked by Pope Francis to become the Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham. While this is an honour and a blessing it brings with it some problems of personnel. Oxford can spare two but not three priests.
From September Fr Nicholas will start having to divide his time between Oxford and York. Other priests from Oxford will continue to visit York regularly. This has been happening since last November and now they will help out at St Joseph’s as well.
Our pastoral assistant, Adam Fairbairn, is presently in Oxford as a postulant for the Oratory. If all goes well he will return to York at the end of this month. Br Adam will continue to do practical and pastoral work here for at least a year as part of his preparation to become a priest.
Communities take time to grow and it is important to take careful and prudent decisions at every stage. Overall the news is good for the parishes of St Joseph’s and St Wilfrid’s. They will now have three and a half priests and a brother between them rather than one priest each.
Please keep Adam in your prayers as he completes his postulancy; and continue to pray for the Church in York and for more vocations, both for the Diocese of Middlesbrough and for the Oratory.
During the heavy rain last weekend the church looked like the inside of Noah's Ark during the Flood! To see the dramatic footage, please click here. This has happened before and we must do something soon about the windows and gutters above the high windows.
We will need to bring scaffolding in through the Rectory Garden and it will be an expensive business, £9000. If anyone has any good fundraising ideas or can make a contribution, please let Fr Richard know.
There will be a Solemn Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form at 6pm on Monday, 4th August, the centenary of the start of the First World War. We will pray for all who died in that war and in subsequent conflicts, for those who have lost those they love, and for peace in our world. The choir will sing the beautiful setting of the Requiem Mass by Gabriel Fauré and Fr Richard will preach.
The church bells will ring half-muffled before and after the Mass
St Paul's Bookshop, one of the great resources for all things Catholic in the parish and the city, was blessed on Wednesday evening by Bishop Terry.
Fr Richard and Fr Nicholas were among the guests with Bishop Terry and Fr Francis of the Society of St Paul, David the bookshop manager, Fr Leo Chamberlain OSB of Ampleforth Abbey and Rev Chris Humble of Central Methodist Church.
These are tough times for specialist retail bookshops. Please ensure St Paul's prospers in its new home by making good use of it. The shop is now half way down Fossgate on the left hand side, opposite the Merchant Adventurers' Hall.
Photograph by Lars Karlsson
It's been a busy weekend at St Wilfrid's! On Saturday afternoon the garden was open from 12.30pm until 4pm. About three hundred visitors looked in for tea, cakes and strawberries. Over a thousand pounds was raised for the parish and other charities. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves as the photos show.
On Sunday we welcomed visitors and spectators for the Tour de France with more tea and coffee, biscuits and cakes. Duncombe Place was an exciting place to be and we certainly had a great crowd in one of the best viewpoints in the city.
Lots of people made cakes and gave us tea, coffee and biscuits. Some people were up very early. The police were grateful for some morning tea.
Thank you to everyone who contributed and worked so hard. During the course of the morning "Francine" the St Wilfrid's mascot acquired a Yorkshire flag and a Union Jack.
The Tour de France will pass right in front of St Wilfrid's on Sunday, 6th July. Parishioners will be welcoming visitors and spectators with refreshments throughout the morning. There will be the usual Masses at 8.30am and 11am for those able to get to them, but they will be very short. On Saturday evening the Vigil Mass will be fifteen minutes earlier than usual, at 6pm. The 5pm Mass on Sunday will be unaffected. And to all the participants, "Bienvenus à York et bonne route!"
St Wilfrid's Rectory Garden will be open this Saturday afternoon, 5th July, from 12.30 until 4pm. The planting is a work in progress but the views of the Minster and the roofscape of Georgian York are unique. Refreshments will be available including a Pimms stall and there will be a bric-a-brac stall and a raffle. The £2 admission includes a cup of tea.
Please enter by 11, High Petergate.
Please write to a member of the House of Lords
The Bill to legalise "assisted dying" - meaning assisted suicide - will be debated in the House of Lords on 18 July 2014. There will be a free vote because it is not government legislation. If passed, this Bill would place vulnerable people at serious risk. Especially if you have direct experience of caring for a dying person, either as a family member or as a health or social care professional, please write before 18 July to a Peer to tell them your views. For more information, including details of how to write to a Peer, please visit the website of the Bishops' Conference.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO WRITE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND CERTAINLY BEFORE 18 JULY.