THE parish priest of Milnthorpe and Arnside is celebrating his diamond jubilee.
Food rationing after the Second World War was nearing its end when the Rev Monsignor Francis Slattery was ordained in 1954.
During a special mass of thanksgiving for his 60 years in the Catholic priesthood, he reflected on the ‘quite dramatic’ changes he has seen in the Church.
This included the use of English instead of Latin, and falling numbers of churchgoers and men entering the priesthood, with priests ‘doubling up’ in parishes.
Mgr Slattery, 85, serves the churches of Christ the King, Milnthorpe, and Our Lady of Lourdes, Arnside, where congregations increase during the holiday season as tourists and walkers attend mass in the scenic parish.
“The parishioners did me proud,” said Mgr Slattery of his thanksgiving mass, which was followed by a hotpot supper at the Cross Keys Hotel, Milnthorpe.
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Guests included family from Washington DC and New York, and the Bishop of Lancaster, the Rt Rev Michael Campbell.
On his blog, the bishop paid tribute to Mgr Slattery’s ‘long years of priestly loyalty’ and hoped that others may follow ‘his steadfast commitment to the priesthood’.
Until last year, Mgr Slattery served the churches of Our Lady of Windermere and St Herbert’s, and Sacred Heart, Staveley, for around 22 years.
Describing his parishes as ‘a lovely part of the world’, the priest also praised the help given by parishioners ‘in all sorts of different ways’.