The principal celebrant was Jubilarian, Bishop John Rawsthorne

More than 30 priests, laymen and invited guests recently celebrated the 125th reunion day of the St Joseph’s Society at Upholland.  The society was founded in 1896 by former students of the Archdiocesan seminary of St Joseph’s College, which had been opened at Upholland by Bishop O’Reilly in 1883.  

Both Bishop O’Reilly and our second Archbishop, F W Keating, are buried at Upholland, along with former rectors, professors, students and workers at the college.  It was entirely appropriate that the reunion day began with a service of remembrance in the college cemetery, a place now sensitively restored and regularly maintained.  The service was led by Fr Gerard Cobham, the society secretary, and was followed by Mass in St Teresa’s Church, with the kind permission of Fr Philip Kehoe FDP, Parish Priest.  The principal celebrant was Jubilarian, Bishop John Rawsthorne, ordained in the college chapel 60 years ago.


After a brief AGM, a convivial lunch was enjoyed in the parish centre.  The society’s president, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP, and Bishop Tom Neylon, a former student at the college, are both celebrating their own ordinations 40 years ago.  Their humorous and heartfelt addresses following the lunch included prayers and toasts.

St Joseph’s Society was 125 years old in 2021, but this pandemic-delayed anniversary celebration allowed the current members to reflect on its original objectives, of providing a bond of union with each other and promoting spiritual welfare.  The other main objective, to further the interests of the college, was perhaps best achieved when membership was at its highest, with around 180 out of 400 members attending reunions in 1960.

Upholland College was closed in 1999 and subsequently sold, but as its alumni continue to age – three nonagerians attended this year’s reunion – their memories of school and seminary days abide, and some of these can be found on the society’s website at

Cath Pic Jubilee Issue-1

News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool



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St Joseph’s Society celebrates 125 years