A rich heritage
I hope that our communion with the Successor of St Peter will always be as deep and solid as our patron would expect it to be
by Father David Potter Parish Priest of St Wilfrid, Garston and Chaplain to the UCM
At a side altar of the church of St Francis of Assisi in Garston, there is a stone slab taken from the medieval chantry chapel of St Wilfrid, which stood less than a mile from the site of the present church. An inscription explains that this chapel used to serve the needs of Catholics throughout Garston, Allerton and Grassendale. Centuries later, St Francis’ church again caters for that wider area, after a period in which the territory was divided into four distinct parishes. And the new, larger parish has adopted the name of St Wilfrid. This is the community in which it was my privilege to be inducted as parish priest by Archbishop Malcolm on 12 October.
It was a pleasure to see so many of my new parishioners gathered for the Mass, and I was equally grateful to those who made the journey from my previous parish of St Albert the Great, Stockbridge Village. I felt the prayers and support of all present as the Archbishop reminded me of the main responsibilities of a parish priest, which are best defined as to teach, to sanctify and to govern. The parish altar servers, who are notably proficient and well-trained, rose to the occasion, and the blend of organ and viola made for some uplifting music and singing. Many people who attended stayed on for a packed and convivial reception in the Meeting Rooms, and the Induction Mass cake was big enough for slices to be offered to members of the Sunday congregation too several days later.
St Wilfrid was Bishop of York for fourteen years from 664 to 678. During that time, he twice appealed to the Pope to resolve disputes in the English Church. At the Synod of Whitby, he also argued that the date of Easter should be determined by the method favoured in Rome, and this was accepted by the Synod Fathers. Of all St Wilfrid’s achievements, this closer aligning of English Catholics with the Holy See was perhaps the most valuable and necessary.
As I begin my ministry in the parish which bears Wilfrid’s name, and in a church whose name is shared by the current Pope, I hope that our communion with the Successor of St Peter will always be as deep and solid as our patron would expect it to be.
Archbishop Malcolm with Father David
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