A venerable figure passed away last week at the age of eighty-six, in the person of Mr. Peter Ward, who for the past fifty-six years has been the faithful verger at St. Joseph's, Newbury.
His edifying life, his fervour and indefatigable work for the cause of God and the Church, won for him the greatest esteem and respect not only among the Catholics but also the Protestants of the town.
Even up to a year ago, at his great advanced age, he would walk miles every week collecting for the church debt and distributing Catholic newspapers and pamphlets.
He belonged to the working class, and lived in a small, humble cottage close by Canon Green's house. He was regarded as a saint and referred to by everyone as " dear old Peter." Every day he spent many hours in prayer
Anyone who called at his cottage would invariably find him on his knees, reading his prayer book or saying the Rosary.
At the graveside and at the Masses last Sunday, Canon Green said that a great saint ha dl passed from their midst, and revealed to his congregation that during the nearly thirty years he had been parish priest of Newbury, in all his anxieties and difficulties connected with the church and school, and any matters of importance, he would call on old Peter and ask for his prayers. Canon Green said he had no doubt that the great blessings which had been showered by God on 2 Newbury parish, and whatever he had been able to accomplish for the good of the parish, were owing in great measure to the prayers and saintly life of the great servant of God who had passed from their midst.
A Requiem Mass was offered by Canon Green last Saturday, and at the funeral service which followed a great number of non-Catholics as well as Catholics attended.