2017 will be a significant year in our Parish. It marks 1620 years since the death of St. Ambrose and 25 years of the present incumbency. There will be a series of Sacramental celebrations during the course of the year, many of which will feature eminent visiting preachers.
It was in July 1992 that I heard I was to replace Canon
Albert Adams as Parish Priest of St. Ambrose’s, Kidderminster. It was in my
tenth year as a Priest – three spent as curate in Coventry, two of St.
Aloysius’ in Oxford, and five years in the neighbouring parish of St.
Much has happened in the twenty five years. Our Schools were
amalgamated; the Borromeo Hall has been built, and the Adams Lounge refurbished.
We have had responsibility for the Sacred Heart Community in Tenbury Wells, and
also for Our Lady & St. Pius X, Habberley 1998-2014. We have had a number
of Missions and Retreats, and many varied speakers from different Churches, and
other walks of life.
Members of Parliament, the Anglican Bishop of Ludlow, and
the Catholic Bishop of Elphin are representative of these.
Mass has been televised from our Church, which was
re-ordered and has twice been interiorly decorated. We have had several Civic Masses, and we are the host
Church each year for the Roadpeace Service. We enjoy good and co-operative
relationships with the other Christian Churches in Kidderminster, and we have
had the privilege of supporting the Vocation to the Diaconate of several of our
The most important feature of our life is to try to keep
alive the Faith of our people, and to take care of them. Over the years we have
been doing this together, and I am extremely proud of the network of
parishioners who prepare candidates for the Sacraments, visit the sick and
minister Holy Communion to them. There are many who have been in our Choirs,
encouraged our wonderful Altar Servers, worked in our sacristies, cleaned our
churches, arranged our flowers – all of which help to enrich and beautify our
Equally important are those who have accounted and husbanded
our finances (keeping us out of debt!).
Rita Mackay has been a loyal and faithful Housekeeper, and
we are both very grateful to those who have helped us in the house and garden,
and especially for demonstrating such love and patience with Maggie, Maisie and
Molly – my three beloved canine companions over the years.
The social life of the Parish has not been neglected, and
many of us will remember parties, pantomimes, formal meals and knockabout
evenings, and we all owe much to those who have organised such events and
especially those who do the hidden work of keeping the affairs of the Hall in
order, and balancing books which have sometimes been precarious.
In 2017 we shall celebrate our years together in a series of
pastoral initiatives which, we pray, will deepen our Faith and give us a new
perspective on the Mass and the Sacraments of the Church.
I continue to be inspired by the steadfast example and fidelity of Her
Majesty, the Queen; the dignified Pontificate and profound spiritual leadership that Pope Benedict gave to the Church, and of course, the memory of the great Archbishop Maurice Couve de
Murville who ordained me to the Priesthood in June 1982, and who appointed me
to St. Ambrose’s 25 years ago.
I continue to rely on the prayers of Our Lady,
the Mother of Good Counsel, St. Joseph and St. Ambrose and St. Pius X, and of
all those with whom I share the life of this Parish. May God be good to us all.