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'Why a priest? - With ten sisters it seemed like a good idea' says Father Bill

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Father Bill Holy Spirit Church Leigh Avenue

Father Bill became Parish Priest of the Holy Spirit Church on Leigh Avenue just over twelve months ago and he certainly has had a baptism of fire.

Telling the Review, “After leaving one building site in Telford where I had just completed the building of a new church, I came to Marple and the Holy Spirit was in need of such repair, it was falling down! So my first twelve months involved working with architects, builders and contractors.  Thankfully, the work is now coming to an end and I have moved into the revamped presbytery.”

Father Bill was born in Ireland and ordained as a Catholic Priest in 1981. He was one of eleven children and the only boy. He joked saying, ‘When people ask me why I became a priest I reply, “With ten sisters, it seemed like a good idea”. 

Father Bill spent many years working as a priest on the Wirral, where he recounted one of his mishaps, “My first trip across the river was to deposit some ashes in the Mersey. However, getting out the wrong side of the ferry, the ashes blew back into my face. The Canon asked me how it had gone as “your face is very grey”.  I made no comment but didn’t make that mistake again!”

On a more serious note Father Bill has been the chaplain to the Ministry of Defence at Donnington where he offered pastoral assistance to members of the armed forces who had returned from the Gulf War and Afghanistan. This also involved the repatriation of those who lost their lives in conflict.  He has also acted as Prison Chaplain for 10 years at various prisons in the Midlands.

Not only a priest in Marple, Father Bill is also the Parish Priest of St. Bernadette’s Church in Brinnington and one of the team of Chaplains to Harrytown school and is an active member of  ‘Churches Together’. 

He has recently been involved in fundraising for the new Cross at Cobden Cross. He is also a keen golf player and in his younger days played Rugby to a high standard.  Father Bill is always seeking new members to join his church and they will always be given a warm welcome.