Dom Joseph Warrilmv OSB Dom Joseph Warrilow marked 70 years of his profession as a Benedictine on Good Friday this year. His community at Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight celebrated what, by any measure, was a remarkable event on Easter Tuesday, the exact day of his profession in 1928. However, Fr Joe was not well enough to join his brothers and had to keep to his room, but on good days he continued to see people and used his phone.
Fr Joe did not seem old; he was cheerful, happy and lively to the end, which came in the early hours of April 27. In his 90th year, his death should not have come as a surprise, but it did. He had shown great powers of recovery from several illnesses over recent years, so that his friends somehow felt he would be there for them forever.
And being available for people was one of the, perhaps paradoxical, marks of his monastic vocation. The very vow of stability to a particular monastery which a Benedictine takes and keeps, except under obedience to serve elsewhere, was of benefit to the many people who went to him for guidance. A small man on a small island had influence way beyond these shores.
Even though in later years he was slower in movement and could no longer climb the long guesthouse stairs, he remained sharp and cheerful, and a chuckle would emerge about some absurdity in the Church, or in life generally. But his attention was always totally focussed on the person he was with, either catching
up on news before counselling and encouraging, or hearing confessions. Had I managed to see him this coming July, I would have had the privilege of knowing him for 50 years. Mentioning that approaching anniversary a couple of years back, he suggested this was well short of the maximum by about ten years, he touched the lives of so many people for most of his life, in England and abroad, in his own Church or not. He had great friendships with many Anglicans and it is difficult to give full weight to the extent of his pastoral influence.
On the day of the Reqiuem including the distinguished chant according to St Pierre de Solesmes of which Quart is a foundation nearly 200 people travelled great distances to be there, including 30 priests.
Fr Joe was born on January 19, 1909, and came from Ilford, Essex, where he had known the young Fr Heenan. He must have been 17 when he first entered Farnborough Abbey; he was ordained priest in 1933, but following a reorganisation was transferred and finally became a monk of Quarr in 1948. He was one of two guestmasters the community was half-French and the first Abbot, Dom Gabriel Tissot,was still in office. When he became Prior, Fr Joe still found time to see his friends and accompany the chant on the organ,alongside his mound of other duties. Fr Joe was happy at Quarr, it is a warm community and when, for instance, a guest was greeted by the Prior rather than the Abbot, it was because it was Abbot Leo's week in the kitchen.
With roots in Essex, Fr Joe always retained a lively interest in the affairs of Brentwood diocese; not many changes there went unnoticed, but that applied to the wider world too, probably due to the extraordinary breadth of his clientele. The Isle of Wight is in Portsmouth diocese and a dozen years ago I had business with a former bishop who had moved on. By way of introduction we exchanged some common acquaintances and I mentioned that a friend Fr Joe had been. The bishop smiled and replied that I would be amazed if he told me the number of people he met who said the same.
Even more telling, it was reported that some years ago when Fr Joe was
on a recuperative stay in Italy, the Rector of the Venerable English College in Rome introduced his guest at supper as: "The man who had saved the vocations of dozens of English priests... by his healing, pastoral ministry and especially his particular gifts as a confessor, has saved more vocations [priestly and lay] than can easily be counted." The crowd at the Requiem was testimony to Fr Joe's importance in many lives.
THE former labour MP Lord Mellish, died recently aged 85. Lord Mellish, a Labour MP for 37 years and a former Labour chief whip, resigned from the party in 1982 when the Australian gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was elected as his replacement.
Robert Joseph Mellish was born in Deptford on March 13, 1913, the 13th child of a family of 14, of whom only six survived infancy. His father was a Labour Party stalwartand dock worker who lived through the dockers' strike in 1889, which was resolved by Cardinal Manning.
Bob Mellish was educated at St Joseph's School, Deptford, starting work as a clerk in the docks at 14. He was very active in the Transport and General Worker's Union, becoming a full-time official in the union's dock section at the age of 25.
In 1940, he enlisted in the Dock-workers' Battalion of the Royal Engineers and rose to the rank of captain. He spent much of his time in the south east Asia command and stood as a Labour candidate during the 1946 by-elections in Bermondsey, south east London where he lived all his life.
He became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Civil Lord of the Admiralty, but was dismissed two years later when he voted against a bill restricting the rights of Irish citizens in Britain. Bob Mellish believed it was prejudiced against Catholics, and said that in a conflict of loyalty between the party and the Church, the Church came first.
In 1959, he was made a knight the order of St Gregory the Great.
He was made housing minister in 1964 and became minister of public buildings and works in 1967, when he introduced floodlighting to Trafalgar Square.
From 1967 to 1969, he was Labour chief whip in government and when they were in opposition. From 1981 to 1985 he was deputy chairman of the London Docklands Development Committee. In 1983, Mellish was knighted by Mrs Thatcher. He was a lifelong supporter of Millwall Football Club and acted as president for many years. In 1938, he married Anne Warner, a docker's daughter by whom he had five sons.
Fr Michael was born in Burnley, Lancashire, in 1920 and was professed in the Passionist Congregation in 1939; he was ordained priest in 1945 by Archbishop Downey. He was active as a missioner and retreangiver over many years, also fulfiling the duties of lector
to students preparing for the priesthood. As a member of the Society of St Gregory, he was active in the field of liturgical development and Gregorian chant.
Fr Michael worked among the handicapped on many pilgrimages to Lourdes, when his devotion to Mary and our Saviour in the Eucharist was evident. He was active to the last in supply work in various parishes while based at St Joseph's Retreat, Highgate, North London and died last month after a short illness.
Anthony Patrick Freeman was born in Wellington, Shropshire, on 10 May 1924. After his service in the RAF and preparatory studies at Osterley College, he entered the Redemptorist novitiate in 1947 and was professed in 1948. In 1953 he was ordained to the priesthood.
His early years as a Redemptorist were spent in giving parish missions and retreats. He then went to South Africa to train and form young Redemptorists, an apostolate in which he was particularly skilled and one which was to engage him for most of his life, latterly in the Redemptorist house of studies in Canterbury. After his return, from South Africa he was appointed, in turn, Superior and parish priest of the Redemptorist houses in Bishop Stortford and Clapham.
He was in great demand as a retreat giver mainly because of his gentleness and deep spirituality. These gifts were officially recognised when Fr Freeman was invited by the Archbishop to become Episcopal Vicar for Religious for the Archdiocese of Southwark, a position he held for 14 years.
In July 1 997 he was diagnosed as having stomach cancer which, despite radical surgery, it was impossible to halt. In the last months of his life he was devotedly cared for by the Daughters of Mary and Joseph at Shirley Court, West Wickham, where he died peacefully on the morning of 20 March 1998.
John Tickle was born in Wigan, on November 24, 1919, and was educated at St Mary's School, Wigan, and St Mary's School, Chorley. He studied for the priesthood at St Joseph's College, Upholland, and was ordained on June 3, 1944.
After ordination he became Assistant Priest at Our Lady's, Star of the Sea, Seaforth, moving in February 1945 to Liverpool Pro-Cathedral.
in October 1956 he bewne Assistant Priest at Holy Angels, West Vale, Kirby, and in 1963 moved to serve at Our Lady Immaculate, Liverpool.
In January 1969 he was appointed Parish Priest of St Peter and St Michael, Woolston, Warrington.
He also worked as an Appeal Judge with the Metropolitan Tribunal for over 20 years. He died peacefully in his Woolston Parish on April 29, 1988. His body was received into St Peter and St Michael's Church, Woolston, Warrington on May 6. The Funeral Mass took place in St Oswald's Church, Padgate, on May 7.