Clergy

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The parish is served by a team of five priests with diverse skills, talents, and life experiences who work together very closely. They also work closely with different groups of lay people so that together the parish can be a vibrant sign of Christ’s presence in the world.

Fr Joe Bibby

I was born in Liverpool on 31st July 1961 to Richard and Therese Bibby, and I am the eldest of four children. I was baptised just one week later at St Clare's, Arundel Avenue, Liverpool.

As my father was in the Scots Guards I have lived in many different places: Melaka in Malaysia, Edinburgh, London, and Pirbright near Woking, before we settled in Crosby near Liverpool.

In 1972, at the age of 11, I felt called to the priesthood and went to the Junior Seminary of St Michael's College, Underley Hall, near Kirkby Lonsdale. Three years later I moved to St Joseph's College, Upholland where I studied for O Levels and A Levels. During this time my father was posted to Muenster, Germany which meant a much longer trip home for me during the holidays!

In 1979, at the age of 18, I went to the Senior Seminary of St Cuthbert's, Ushaw College, near Durham. After six years of studying Philosophy and Theology I was ordained to the priesthood on 28th September 1985 at SS Peter and Paul's Church, Crosby by Archbishop Derek Worlock. 

In October the same year I was appointed to St Matthew's, Clubmoor, Liverpool as assistant priest where I worked until September 1990. 

My second appointment was as Youth Chaplain to the town of St Helens, and to De La Salle High School and Carmel Sixth Form College. During this time I lived at St Austin's, Thatto Heath.

In January 1994 I joined L.A.M.P., the Liverpool Archdiocesan Missionary Project, and after six months learning Spanish, was appointed assistant priest to Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Then in May 1995 I left the Amazonian Region and moved up to the Andes Mountains at 4000 meters above sea level to work in St Andrew's Parish, Caracollo, Oruro until 2000.

Having returned to the U.K. I was appointed parish priest to St Joseph's, Penketh, Warrington in September 2000 where I worked for four years. 

Then in September 2004 I returned to Bolivia and was appointed parish priest of the Parish of St Ildefonso, Paria, Oruro. The parish has 35 churches and covers an area of 100 square kilometres. The village of Paria had been one of the four regional capitals of the Inca Empire and was colonised by the Spanish on the 23rd January 1535. This makes it the oldest parish in Bolivia. Whilst I worked in this parish I also learnt enough Quechua (the Inca language) to be able to celebrate Mass for those who did not speak Spanish.

Then in January 2011 I returned to the U.K. once again, and in the September was appointed a parish priest in Widnes where I have been for the past seven years.

Family and friends are very important to me and I enjoy spending time with them. I also enjoy walking as well as reading and learning about other cultures, their histories and languages, as well as visiting new places. Physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellbeing are important to me and I do all I can to grow and flourish in these areas.

 

Fr Michael Fitzsimons

I was born in Liverpool in 1970 and was educated at St Austin’s Primary School and then SFX College in Woolton. I studies Youth and Community Work at St Martin’s College in Lancaster and after graduation I worked for over 10 years with various charities working with homeless people in Lancashire and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I also worked in a variety of youth and community settings and in prisons. I was active during this time in my home and local parishes and volunteered with CAFOD and the annual HCPT Children’s Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

In September 2000 I started seminary at Ushaw College in Durham and was ordained in July 2006. I have served as assistant priest at Christ the King and Our Lady’s, Childwall, and St Luke’s, Whiston and then as parish priest at St. John the Evangelist, Kirkdale before coming here to be part of the team at St Wilfrid’s in September 2016.

Alongside my parish responsibilities I am also the Chair of Trustees at Nugent, the official caring services of the Archdiocese and remain involved with CAFOD including advising on their campaigning work.

I am the owner and keeper of Ollie, our parish dog who enjoys daily treats, walks in park, and occasionally comes into church. I enjoy theatre and photography and have an extensive collection of DVDs especially focussing on disaster movies, good and bad!

 

Fr Bill Murphy

I was born William Arthur Murphy on 2nd October 1943 in Edgebaston, Birmingham and educated by the Sisters of Mercy and the Irish Christian Brothers in Dublin.

Priestly formation:

The Jesuit college for late vocations in Osterley Middlesex, The Pontifical Seminary in Lisbon Portugal and St Joseph's Seminary Upholland.                                    

I was ordained on 10th May 1975 at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King Liverpool, following this I have served in the following parishes:- 

St Teresa's Clock Face St Helens - Assistant    

Metropolitan Cathedral - Assistant      

St Paul's West Derby - Assistant                    

In Bolivia South America with L.A.M.P. - 6 years              

St Cuthbert's Wigan – Parish Priest                                 

Bolivia South America with L.A.M.P - 9 years                          

Amalgamation of Our Lady of the Assumption/ St Cyril's /St Gregory's/Pascal Baylon as Parish Priest     

Blessed Sacrament Aintree – Parish Priest (from where I retired as a Parish Priest)

Now working as assistant priest with Team ministry at St Wilfrid's Widnes.    

 

Bishop John Rawsthorne - Emeritus Bishop of Hallam

I was born in Crosby, Liverpool on 12 November 1936 the eldest son of Harold and Miriam Rawsthorne with two brothers, and three sisters.  After attending St. Joseph's College in Upholland, I was ordained to the priesthood on 16 June 1962.

Until 1965, I studied natural sciences, and was then assigned to pastoral work in West Derby, Croxteth, Childwall, and Liverpool

On 9 November 1981, I was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Liverpool and titular bishop of Rotdon by Pope John Paul II. 

I was installed as bishop of Hallam in St Marie's Cathedral on 3 July 1997 - the second bishop of the diocese, where I remained until retirement in July 2014, following this I moved to Widnes.

I Chair the Bishops' Committee for the Pastoral Care of Deaf People and was formerly Chair of CAFOD – the Church’s official Aid and Development agency. I am also an active member of the Catholic Bishop' Conference of England and Wales.

I am a keen walker.

 

Fr Carl Mugan 

I am Fr Carl Mugan, newly ordained in July this year at the Cathedral in Liverpool, after spending four years at the Pontifical Beda College in Rome.

Prior to going to Seminary I had been the Lay Chaplain to St Peter’s Catholic High School in Wigan, a job that combined my faith with my qualification as a Counsellor, having the opportunity to work with children of all ages as well as with parents and staff. My career up to that point had been varied, but focussed mainly on social care, working with Local Authority homeless units in London to housing refugees and asylum seekers in Manchester, bringing a richness in understanding the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in their differing communities.

Unlike most other priests I have two grown up sons who have been supportive of my vocation and remain a big part of my life. I am an identical twin (which has its benefits and pitfalls!) as well as a younger and older brother. My family and friends are so important to me as both a place for support as well as having some great times together.

My faith journey has been long and quite complicated, I was born into a Catholic family in the Wigan area and my faith has played a major part in my life (quite obvious for a priest!)

I first thought of a vocation to the Priesthood back in 1982 at the tender age of 19yrs old, however life took an unexpected turn and I met the woman who was to become my wife, so therefore thoughts of Priesthood were quietly put away. I was then not to realise that some many years later I would be approaching the Vocations Director and be accepted by the Archdiocese to study in Rome.

My hopes for my ministry in Widnes are to become part of the community and to be as supportive as I can be in the great work that is going on here. I’m told I am a straightforward, friendly guy, so please say “hello” as I join the Widnes community.

 

Fr Anthony Afaako CSSp (Summer Supply Priest)

Born on the 1st of March 1977, my parents due to the economic hardships in Ghana had migrated to Nigeria to work. I am the third born of five children, having four sisters. Due to the position I occupy in the family, I often term myself as “blessed among sisters”.

I started my nursery and primary school at Offa, in Kwara State in the Western part of Nigeria.  My family later moved to what is now known as Adamawa State in the north Eastern part of Nigeria. In the year 1990, after my primary education, I sat for the entrance exams into the Saint Peter’s Minor Seminary at Yola in Adamawa State. Though it was a diocesan Minor seminary, the staff was mainly made up of the Irish De la Salle brothers and nuns. The nuns were mostly of the Infant Jesus (Saint Nicholas of Bari), Sisters of Mercy (SM) and the Franciscan Sisters of Divine Motherhood (FMDM). The Nuns were English, Irish, Australians, New Zealanders, Tongans and a few Nigerians.

Pertaining to my actual journey to the priesthood, I joined the Postulancy of the North Eastern Nigerian Province of the Spiritan Fathers/Brothers in the year 1996 in Yola, in Adamawa state in Nigeria. I was recruited by a wonderful Spiritan Priest from Chorley in our wonderful Archdiocese of Liverpool by name Fr. Harry Pass, CSSp.  The following are some of the most vital dates:

  • 1997. Novitiate at Ejisu- Kumasi Ghana
  • 1998: Profession of Temporary Vows at Ejisu, Ghana.
  • 1998-2001: Philosophical formation at the Spiritan House of formation, Ejisu, Ghana.
  • 2001-2002: Language (French) formation at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal. Officially, I joined the Ghanaian Province of the Spiritan Fathers/Brothers.
  • 2002-2003: Missionary stage/Arabic formation in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
  • 2003-2006: Theological formation at the Université Catholique d’Afriquecentrale, in Yaoundé, Cameroon and also a licentiate at the Institute Catholique de Paris (France)
  • 2005: Perpetual Vows and Diaconate Ordination in Douala, Cameroon.
  • 2006: Priestly ordination at the Holy Spirit Parish, Bantama, Kumasi- Ghana. I was initially appointed to work in the Diocese of Multan in Pakistan.
  • 2007-2010: Worked in the archdiocese of Kumasi, Ghana.
  • 2010-2017: Rome- Stayed at the Pontifical French College and attended Pontifical Gregorian University where I obtained a B.A in Sociology (Family Sociology), Licentiate in Sociology (Qualified Migration) and finally, a PhD in Social Sciences (Digital Sociology and Statistics)
  • 2017- till- Now: A formator and also a lecturer at the Spiritan Formation/ Seminary at Ejisu-Ghana.

I first arrived in Widnes during the summer of 2011 and ever since then, I have never looked backed. Widnes has become more than a home to me and every year, I look forward to coming back home to give a helping hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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