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Priest: ‘I hope God will fix it for Jimmy’


THE CONCELEBRANT at the funeral of Catholic broadcaster and philanthropist Sir Jimmy Saville prayed that he would receive the “ultimate reward” of a place in heaven at his funeral Mass last week.

Addressing hundreds of mourners present in St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds, Sir Jimmy’s parish church, Mgr Kieran Heskin said: “We pray this afternoon that the Great Producer on high, who decides all our destinies, will so fix it and that Jimmy will be given the ultimate reward: a place in heaven. May God grant eternal rest to his noble soul.”

The popular television presenter most renowned for his Saturday afternoon show, Jim’ll Fix It, died at home on October 29 two days short of his 85th birthday, prompting an outpouring of tributes from fans and broadcasters across the nation.

Following his death, Sir Jimmy’s satin gold coffin was displayed at the Queen’s Hotel in Leeds, where almost 4,000 people lined up to pay their respects.

His funeral Mass took place in Leeds the following day and he was buried at Woodlands cemetery last Thursday in the seaside town of Scarborough. His coffin was angled at 45 degrees to fulfil his wish to “see the sea”.

Speaking at the star’s funeral, Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds said: “Today Jimmy lies at the front of this cathedral where, in

Clockwise from left: two men pay their respects in trademark Sir Jimmy tracksuits; the order of service; the cigar, crucifix and gold coffin former years, he had remained discreetly hidden at the back in order not to disturb people’s prayers or distract their attention from what was taking place at the altar.

“This afternoon, he occupies the first place always in our thoughts, affections and prayers.”

Mgr Heskin of Leeds diocese, who knew Sir Jimmy well, delivered the homily at the funeral Mass during which he described Sir Jimmy as “a man of deep faith and of strong Christian conviction”.

He said: “He was a Catholic who faithfully attended Mass on Sundays and also during the week when he could. Many of us, as the bishop has mentioned, have been accustomed to seeing him slip discreetly into church, standing just inside the door at the back, quietly taking part.

“Outside church, of course, it was a different story. He was the extrovert performer, entertainer and fundraiser.”

During his homily, Mgr Heskin also spoke of Sir Jimmy’s fidelity to the Church’s commandments.

He said: “When Christ was asked which were the most important commandments of the 613 that occur in the first books of the Old Testament, he broke them down to two. He said: ‘You must love the Lord your God with your whole heart and soul and your neighbour as yourself.’

“Jimmy’s fulfilment of the first of these great commandments, ‘You must love the Lord your God’ was exemplary; his fulfilment of the second commandment, ‘you must love your neighbour as yourself’ is public knowledge.”

The priest also appealed to his congregation to be confident that Sir Jimmy was now with God and to pray for him. He said: “Despite the separation, hold on to the conviction that he lives on with God, that you will meet him again and enjoy his company and his love.

“Do remember also to keep him in your prayers. The Scriptures tell us that it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be released from their sins.

“Jimmy himself, on this very topic, in a PS to his autobiography added: ‘I hope He really does take it easy on sinners!’”

Commenting on the atmosphere at the funeral Mgr Heskin said: “The liturgy was wonderful and the music was excellent. Everything was done with the smoothness and dignity that you would expect in a cathedral.

“It was the place, after all, where Jimmy was baptised and where his mother prayed for him when he was a seriously ill new-born baby.”

Jimmy Saville was born in Leeds in 1926. He died a bachelor with a strong devotion to his mother who he referred to as “the Duchess”. He continued to store and dry clean her clothes after she had died.

During a documentary towards the end of his life Sir Jimmy was asked why he often claimed that he felt no emotions. He said: “Because it’s easier. The truth is I am very good at masking them.”

Sir Jimmy was renowned for his generous spirit through his voluntary work at Leeds General Infirmary and Stoke Mandeville Hospital. He focused a lot of his charitable efforts on helping children with spinal injuries.

Shropshire’s only Catholic school to be merged


THE ONLY Catholic secondary school in Shropshire will be merged with an Anglican neighbour due to falling rolls, it has been announced.

The merging of Blessed Robert Johnson (BRJ) Catholic College in Wellington, Telford, will mean that for parents the nearest Catholic schools would be as far away as Crewe or Stafford.

The mixed, voluntary-aided school has suffered from a decline in the number of children of school age in the area,

which has led to a shortfall in the district of 1,200 secondary school-age pupils. The school is already evenly split between Catholics and nonCatholics, and the former are in decline.

Under Labour’s £1.9 billion Building Schools for the Future programme there had been plans to rebuild and modernise the school, but these appear to have fallen victim to the Coalition’s reduced funds for the initiative.

Under new council proposals the school’s pupils would be moved to a new Christian Academy, to be jointly run with the Church of England. The Diocese of Shrewsbury has agreed to give up the building, transferring the land to Telford and Wrekin Council, and has been in talks with the two Anglican dioceses, Litchfield and Hereford, that cover the area.

Councillor Paul Watling, Telford and Wrekin cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “The new proposals will achieve better value for money from the Building Schools for the Future programme while continuing to create high-quality learning environments for our young people as well as community facilities for all.”

The school, named after a Catholic priest from Shropshire who was executed for his faith in 1582 and beatified in 1889, is described by Ofsted as being “satisfactory”, although inspectors did praise it for improvement in many areas. The report said: “One member of staff captured the views of many in describing the college as being ‘like part of a family’. The college is a cohesive and harmonious community. The Gospel values are very effectively promoted and high-quality care is also provided. These strengths explain why many of the personal development outcomes are good.”

There are concerns among some parents that the Catholic ethos of the new school will be lost along with the name, with some Catholics critical of the track record of previous joint Anglican-Catholic schools. A consultation is due to take place at the school on Monday November 21 at 6.30pm.

Headmaster Robert Hall wrote on the school website: “This is an exciting prospect,

but brings with it a degree of uncertainty. It is not correct to say that BRJ is closing. The proposal is to move BRJ to be part of a much bigger school and sixth form, to be supported by both the Catholic and Anglican churches.”

He told the Herald that the move was the consequence of demographic change. “Shropshire is a sparsely populated county, especially in terms of Catholics. The numbers of Catholic students themselves has declined, even with the arrival of some migrants. Next year in one borough there is a 200-student decline.”


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Irish are misled over child abuse, says archbishop Archbishop gives village parish to ordinariate priests


THE IRISH people have been “misled about the extent of abuse by priests”, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said.

In a homily at a Mass in the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin last weekend, the Primate of Ireland said that priests had been wronged as a result of the misinformation.

Speaking at a Mass to celebrate the lives of nine priests who had died in the diocese this year, Archbishop Martin talked about the change in the priestly vocation during their long lives.

He said: “I was reflecting that the two eldest of these priests, Dan Breen and Noel Madden, were both ordained in 1955. I was reflecting on the change that they would have experienced over those years. Priests in Dublin face new challenges as numbers decrease and the workload grows and the general cultural climate changes.

“Priests in Dublin have faced really difficult times in the past years,” he said: “With all of you, I am saddened and horrified to see the results of a recent survey which showed how misled people have been about the extent of abuse by priests. Some of those questioned for the survey imagined that over 20 per cent of priests had abused.”

Archbishop Martin was referring to a survey commissioned by the Iona Institute think-tank which found that 42 per cent of Irish people believed the number of priests guilty of child abuse was over 20 per cent. In the survey 70 per cent of people overestimated the prevalence of clerical abusers, and one in four believed that 40 per cent or more of all priests were child abusers. Five per cent believed that between 90 per cent and 100 per cent of Catholic priests are guilty of child abuse.

“The horror we all experience at the dreadful reality of abuse in no ways justifies such injustice to the entire body of priests in this country,” the archbishop said.

Rather, the nine priests had represented what was best in Dublin priests, he said. “The love and the affection and the care they had for us in this life endure.”

He said that being a believer in Jesus Christ was not easy today. “We should remember, however, that difficult times are never alien to the ministry and the life of the Church. Faith is not easy. All of us will have experienced and will experience moments in which our faith in God will be stretched almost to breaking point. Faith is not certainty. Finding Jesus in our lives is not given to us on a plate. Our faith has to engage with the hostilities of every generation,” he said.


ARCHBISHOP Peter Smith of Southwark has entrusted a village parish in Kent to the care of two ordinariate priests.

In a letter he said that Fr Ed Tomlinson and Fr Nicholas Leviseur would take over the pastoral care of all Catholics in Pembury.

His decision was welcomed by Mgr Keith Newton, the head of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Archbishop Smith said the St Anselm community at Pembury, outside Tunbridge Wells, would be a “quasiparish”, which, according to canon law, is “a community of faithful... entrusted to a priest as its proper pastor but because of special circumstances not yet established as a parish”.

One priest, Fr Tomlinson, will also be chaplain at the local hospital.

The archbishop said in his letter that the parish should serve as “home to both the local Catholic community and also to ordinariate members in the Tunbridge Wells area”.

He said: “It is important that the patrimony and culture of both is properly valued and preserved, and it is anticipated that, for as long as it seems prudent, the current practice of holding two Masses which reflect two differing traditions should be retained.

“Until now the two groups have necessarily existed in parallel, each with its own structures, priest and agenda. I, and those I have consulted, do not believe that this situation has proved fruitful in nurturing unity.

“So I dearly hope that, in looking to one priest and truly sharing resources, the whole community can now come together and explore a shared future together as two lungs of one vibrant Catholic body,” the archbishop said.

Mgr Newton said he was “delighted” at the progress of the Pembury ordinariate group, which he said was expecting three new members in time for Christmas.

He said he was grateful to Archbishop Smith for providing a “clear way forward”, adding: “I am very confident that a bright future awaits all who currently worship at St Anselm’s chapel and hall.”

The Pembury “quasiparish” is thought to be the first in Britain to be entrusted to priests of the ordinariate. It will still be part of the diocese, though, not the ordinariate, and its priests will answer to Archbishop Smith rather than to Mgr Newton.

The ordinariate still has no church buildings and no headquarters.

NEWSBULLETIN Bishops discuss approach to gay marriage legislation THE BISHOPS of England and Wales put resisting moves to legalise gay marriage at the top of their agenda during their plenary meeting this week.

respond to the Government’s consultation on the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

As the bishops met at Hinsley Hall, Leeds, for their four-day bi-annual meeting, the Department for Christian Responsibility under the leadership of Archbishop Peter Smith led discussions on how to

The bishops were also due to hear from the Ordinary of the Ordinariate, Mgr Keith Newton, about the progress of the ordinariate. They were also expected to discuss the New Evangelisation in connection with the imminent Year of Faith.

Ecumenical study guide published YORK COURSES has published a new ecumenical course for Lent 2012 aimed at study groups within the major denominations. Called Handing on the Torch – Sacred Words for a Secular World it consists of a course booklet and CD and features Catholic journalist Clifford Longley together with the Most Rev John Sentamu, Archbishop of York.

The five course sessions cover whether Britain is a Christian country, the apparent decline of the churches, the competing faiths in contemporary Britain and how best to hand on the Christian faith. There are questions for discussion and follow-up activities.

Previous courses have featured Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, the Abbots of Worth and Ampleforth and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.

Course details and ordering information are available at Yorkcourses.co.uk or on 01904 466516.

Catholics mark interfaith week NATIONAL Inter Faith Week begins on Sunday and lasts until Saturday. Among the events held in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be an interfaith pilgrimage in Watford, which will stop off at a church, a synagogue and a mosque.

Archbishop Kevin McDonald of Southwark called it “an opportunity to take some kind of initiative in the area of relations with people of other religions”.

Jubilee priests meet the Pope FOUR priests celebrating 60 years of priesthood were among a group of 38 who met the Pope this week.

Fr Austin Garvey of Westminster, Fr James Doherty of Hexham, and Fr Michael O’Connor and Fr John Gaine of Liverpool were invited to Rome by the rector of the Venerable English College Mgr Nicholas Hudson, along with 15 priests celebrating golden jubilees and 19 ruby jubilarians.

Competition winners announced THE WINNERS of our The Way DVD competition are Kathleen Lavelle, M E Glancy, P A Proctor, Peter O’Sullivan and J Harrower.




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