Page 6, 31st October 2008

31st October 2008
Page 6
Page 6, 31st October 2008 — LIVES REMEMBERED

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Abbot Placid Spearritt was a Benedictine of Ampleforth who became the prior of an Australian monastery. He was born on September 17 1933 and died on October 4, 2008, aged 75.

Born in Bundaberg, Queensland into an Anglican family in 1933, Sewlyn Spearritt — Placid was his religious name — was one of 13 children. He attended high school in Brisbane and was educated at Queensland Univer-' sity, where he was an avid singer.

He taught at Warwick School, Darling Down, for a year before doing a Masters. He converted to Catholicism when he was 22.

He developed a fascination for the Benedictines and entered the novitiate at Ampleforth aged 25. In 1967 he completed a Doctorate in Theology and Philosophy which he had done at the University of Freiburg at Abbot Basil Hume's request and was ordained to the priesthood.

He went to Brisbane High School and then Queensland University, where he sang with a madrigal group and delighted in attending the canonical hours in Brisbane Cathedral, where the canons followed the New Testament readings with the Greek text. He taught at Warwick School at Darling Downs for a year, then returned to university to do a masters.

During the 26 years he spent at Ampleforth he became prior. While visiting his Australian family he held a retreat for the monks of New Norcia. Perth who were so impressed they asked if he could return.

He was prior administrator and was voted the community's sixth abbot. He was admired for his academic abilities and his diplomacy.

In Europe for a meeting of Benedictine superiors in Rome earlier this months, Abbot Placid was visiting Ampleforth where he suddenly collapsed from heart failure.

Fr Arthur Moraes was a priest of Westminster who was born on August 26 1929. He died on October 10, 2008, aged 79.

Born in Goa, India, in 1929, Arthur Thomas Joachim Ignatius Moraes was the eldest of the four children born to Ernest and Rosa Maria Moraes. After his primary education he entered the junior seminary and subsequently the senior seminary at Racholl, Goa.

He was ordained to the priesthood on October 3 1955 by the Archbishop Patriarch of Goa. He was sent to Rome after his ordination to continue his education and earned a Doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1959.

After completing his studies in Rome Fr Moraes held a variety of different appointments. In the years between 1959 and 1963 he served as secretary to the bishop in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, before working as parish priest for six years in Kohat, Pakistan. He did some supply work in Westminster Diocese in the early 1970s before he went to Bhopal, India, to serve as director of development work there. Incardinated in Westminster diocese in 1984, Fr Moraes served as Asian chaplain to the diocese of West

minster from 1982 to 1990.

He served briefly as assistant priest in Wood Green, London, and after recurring periods of ill-health, he retired in 1991 to the Sons of Divine Providence home in Hampton Wick.

Fr Moraes was known for his great humility, his gift for languages—he spoke nine—and his determination to foster devotion to Our Lady of Vailankanni, a Marian shrine near Madras. He led a number of pilgrimages from Britain to what he called the "Lourdes of India".

Fr Moraes was 79 years old when he died and had been in the priesthood for 53 years.

Fr John Kennedy, former Army chaplain and parish priest in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, was born on December 6,1931, He died on October 5 2008, aged 76.

Born in Felling, Yorkshire. in 1931, John Kennedy attended seminary in Ushaw and was ordained to the priesthood in 1955 by Bishop Joseph McCormack, His first appointment was to act as curate at St Joseph's church, Hartlepool from August 1955 to December 1955, after which he moved to St Hilda's Sunderland, Where he was curate until January 1964. He then served as a Royal Army Chaplain for 18 years. Bishop Tom Burns of the Armed Forces has paid tribute to his work.

In 1982, he became parish priest of St Teresa's, Hartlepool, where he served until his retirement in 2003. Fr Kennedy was well-known throughout the town and valued by his brethren at the Northern Brethren Fund, of which he was a member.

Fr John Kennedy died after 53 years of the priesthood.

Fr Bernard Merron was a Knight Commander of the Holy Sepulchre and a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark. He was born July 4, 1925 and died on October 20, 2008, aged 83.

Born in 1925 in Northern Ireland Fr Bernard Merron was one of a family of eight. The Belfast native studied for the priesthood at St Mary's College, Oscott for the Diocese of Delhi and Simla in India.

He was ordained to the priesthood in Kandy on August 1954. After five years of service in India he returned to Europe in August 1959.

Fr Merron initially went to St Joseph's, Guildford. Surrey, as an assistant priest and on May 3 1961 he was incardinated into the Diocese of Southwark by Bishop Cyril Cowderoy. He was appointed as an assistant priest in July 1964 to the English Martyrs, Streatham.

In September 1967 he went on supply to St Anne, Cliftonville, Kent.

In September 1968 he was appointed the first rector of St Michael and All Angels in Farnborough, Kent, and when the parish was canonically erected Fr Merron was appointed as its first parish priest.

He served the parish faithfully and zealously as rector and parish priest for 26 years.

He was assiduous at visiting the two hospitals, the Leonard and Farnborough General Hospital. When the present presbytery was being built he lived in a caravan for six months until the old presbytery was sold.

In 1979 he was made a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre and was later promoted to Knight Commander of the Holy Sepulchre.

Fr Merron was a very sincere unassuming, reticent man very much at home in Farnborough. He believed in showing a good example to his parishioners by being seen saying his private prayers. He took a great delight in gardening and was very fond of listening to music.

He retired in Cloughey, Co Down, in August 1994 with the intention of helping to care for his older sister who was infirm at this time. She died less than half a year later in 1995.

Over the years his health deteriorated and in May 2007 he went to live in Glenn Road, Belfast before moving to Colinvale Court Private Nursing Home, Shaws Road, Belfast where he died on October 20, in the 54th year of his priesthood.

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