Following this evening's announcement that churches are to close for services from midnight on Thursday 5th November we will be unable to hold our annual memorial service on Friday. The last public Mass to be said in the parish will be at 9.30am on Wednesday 4th November. Fr James will still be saying a private Mass every day so all Mass intentions will be honoured. If anybody has any Mass intentions please let us have them.

Our Priest

  

Father James Earley From Sailor to …….. I remember as a young boy in Ireland sitting in the classroom of the local school and marvelling at the map of the world. The maps were there as part of our geography lessons. I didn’t realise then that instead of just dreaming about these far-flung places, one day I would travel to most of them. This came about in a roundabout sort of way. After leaving school I decided to study hotel management and eventually found myself working at the Dorchester Hotel in London.

In the fullness of time I got itchy feet and asked a friend: How do you travel & still remain in the hotel business? I learned that one could do this by travelling on passenger ships and I wrote to the P&O Line, as they were known then. After a successful interview and medical I sailed on my first voyage, leaving Southampton bound for Australia. The ship was called the Oronsay and she was the first of many ships in the P&O fleet that I would sail on.

This was the beginning of a wonderful experience for me. In the old days, before the concept of ‘cruise holidays’, a ship would stay about a week in port giving us all an opportunity to really get to know the places we visited. Life on board was good and there was a great sense of community. I was promoted quickly, because of my hotel training, eventually becoming Fleet Maitre D’Hotel.

I have many happy memories of people I met and places I visited. I worked on eight world cruises, visiting many beautiful places and some wonderful cities in all continents. I travelled the world from Alaska to Africa, visited all European countries that had a port, travelled from China to Russia, Australia to Kobe, Singapore to Penang, Vancouver to New York, Tonga to Suva in the Pacific Isles and visited many more places.

During my travels I experienced many different cultures and religions and met some wonderful and interesting people, even sitting down with North American Indians. All in all it was a wonderful experience. You might be asking how I came to leave my travelling behind and became a Catholic Priest? Well that is a story for another time. But life on board a cruise ship gets you used to living in community and was a great preparation for my present role as parish priest in this community. But when I think back to that little classroom with the world map on the wall I am grateful that map became very much alive for me. .