1999 and Beyond

The Parish Today – from 1999 to Now

The current Parish Priest, Fr John Danford, celebrated the Silver Jubilee of his ordination on 21st June 2011, with a special Mass followed by a celebration in the old hall. He splashed out the entire proceeds of the generous gift donated by parishioners on a brand new piano, which he has been ill-treating ever since!

The old parish hall, which had given faithful service over more than 40 years (and it was only built to last for 20!) was pulled down in 2012, to be replaced by a rather more up-market version on the same site. The builders then immediately turned their attentions to the church, just before Easter 2013, so the new hall’s first role was to double up as a temporary church, for the Easter Triduum, no less. The church was redecorated, the sacristy extended and new toilets built. Since then, the hall has been well used, both by the Parish for classes, fund-raising and social events, and hired out to various local groups and organisations.

In order to raise funds to pay for the new build, a new group, the Fund Raising Committee, was formed. Constantly busying themselves finding ever more innovative ways of raising cash, whilst having great fun doing so, they have brought a new energy to parish life.

Another new development is the establishment of the Welcomers Group, whose role is to provide a warm greeting to all who come to church over the weekend Masses. They also assist at funerals, helping the mourners to feel comfortable and at home.

28th June 2014 saw the first ordination to take place in the parish – at least, since the Reformation! Tony Falcon, who moved to Leighton Buzzard in 1977 with his family (and extended family!) was ordained a permanent deacon by Bishop Peter Doyle, in a packed church, with his wife Marilyn, parents Lena and Charles, children and grandchildren proudly looking on. Tony was so happy he even forgave his parish priest for the song he composed and sang in the hall afterwards “in his honour”! Deacon Tony has since provided invaluable assistance in the parish in his diaconal ministry, as well as being appointed Catholic Chaplain of Aylesbury Prison.

In 2013 a group of 20 parishioners made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, under the able leadership of Della of 5th Gospel Tours, with Fr John and his (rather more competent!) friend Fr Paul providing the spiritual lead. Another pilgrimage in 2014 took over 30 parishioners to Rome, including a Papal Audience in St Peter’s Square. The trip coincided with Fr John’s 60th birthday, which did not pass uncelebrated! Next stop is Lourdes in August.