BY WILL HEAVEN
A FORMER Army officer who was later a Benedictine monk for 52 years at Ampleforth Abbey died last week while on holiday with his family.
Fr Gerald Hughes was serving in the parish of St Austin in the Grassendale district of Liverpool, a role he had been filling since 1997.
He was educated at Ampleforth College and in 1947 went to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. From there he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery and served in the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) from late 1948 until November 1952.
A year later he joined the Benedictine community at Ampleforth, making his solemn vows in 1957. He was ordained priest in July 1960. Fr Hughes spent the next 26 years teaching at Ampleforth preparatory school, including a brief period as acting headmaster.
One Ampleforth monk remembered being taught by him: “Fr Gerald was exarmy, so we knew where we were with him. But he was very kind and had a good sense of humour. He was very good at explaining things and at entering into the boys’ world, all without being patronising.” Following his years in the school he then devoted more than 20 years to working in some of the parishes run by the monastic community, including St Mary’s, Cardiff, St Benedict’s in Ampleforth village itself, and then, after 1997, in the parish of St Austin .
Fr Hughes’s body will be received into the Abbey Church at Ampleforth on Sunday September 6 at 8.15 pm. Solemn sung funeral Mass will take place at 11.30 am in the Abbey Church on Monday September 7, followed by burial in the Monks’ Wood.