FAREWELL TO FR BERNARD SDB
On Wednesday 18th April at St Gregory’s Church in Bollington, the sun shone on the gathering of people who crowded into the Church to celebrate together the life of
Fr Bernard Parkes SDB.
His fellow students who started with him at Shrigley in 1958, Gerry Wright, Bernard O’Neill with Bro Joe Adams, Fr Michael Cunningham, Fr Charlie Garrick, all students, together with teachers Eric Baggaley, Kevin Dean and Fr. Robert Coupe,
his fellow confreres of over 24 Salesian priests and brothers, including the Provincial Fr Martin Coyle, Fr Tom Williams and Fr David O’Malley, Salesian sisters and sisters of Mercy, Rev Andrew of St Luke’s West Derby, Fr Chris McCoy representing the Archdiocese of Liverpool, Christian Brothers from St Timothy’s, both Headmasters of St Dominic’s Secondary and Junior Schools, Salesian Cooperators and parishioners of his Liverpool parishes all joined Fr Bernard’s family and friends.
The Mass was concelebrated by over 20 priests with Fr Martin the main celebrant who gave a eulogy of Fr Bernard reflecting on his life as a Shrigley boy, his 10 years after ordination in 1974 in Aberdour, Scotland; 15 years in Liverpool parishes and 10 years at Savio, sharing his many talents with all.
Fr Martin also mentioned Fr Bernard’s other interests of supporting Warrington Rugby, his love of trains especially steam. But most of all his charity in sharing his life with so many and his dignity and elegance in accepting his calling with his gratitude to all quoted in the service booklet.
“In the last eighteen months, I have become aware of the genuine affection others have for me. This discovery of being surrounded by love has been life-giving. Friends, family and community have been going out of their way and making real sacrifices to make sure that I have what I need. What I am experiencing is God’s love for me, which is renewing me by providing me with a new heart. A heart beat is an indication of life and I can see that I have begun to live in a new way in these last few months.
Surely that’s a cause for celebration!’’
Members of the Savio staff and volunteers provided beautiful music which did them proud and I am sure put a smile on Fr Bernard’s face.
May he now enjoy his rewards for his life’s hard work as a Salesian priest and a true example of living out Don Bosco’s teachings and practices.
Fr Bernard was buried in the church cemetery in Bollington.
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Welcome to our new Rector Major, Don Angel Fernandez, previously Provincial of the Argentina South Province.
Dear Don Ángel Fernández Artime
For and on behalf of the Salesian Cooperators of the Great Britain Province, we take this opportunity to warmly congratulate you on becoming the Rector Major of our great Salesian family and 10th successor of our dear founder Don Bosco.
Please be assured of our continuing prayers of thanks and support as you embrace your new role.
Yours in Don Bosco
And a Fond Farewell to Don Chavez
Dear Don Pascual Chavez,
For and on behalf of the Salesian Cooperators of the Great Britain Province, we take this opportunity to warmly thank you for leading us as the Rector Major of our great Salesian family for the past 12 years. We were truly privileged to have you talk at the UK Salesian Family Retreat (Wyboston Lakes) May 2013
Please be assured of our continuing prayers of thanks as you await your new role.
Yours in Don Bosco
A farewell letter from Don Chavez
You cannot imagine the deep joy I felt when, on the evening of the 30th of last January, I was able to walk beside Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia, archbishop of Turin and many Salesians, young people from the SYM, as we accompanied Don Bosco’s Casket through the streets of Turin on his return to Valdocco. Young people who had come to the Basilica were waiting for him there and singing “Don Bosco ritorna”. Don Bosco has come back home, having visited his sons wherever they were, anywhere in the world, and it had me thinking of you and now I am writing you this personal letter. Back in Valdocco, Don Bosco wants to reach out to every young person, by preference the most needy of them, through each one of us, called as we are to represent him today.
I am about to leave the ministry as Rector Major that was entrusted to me for the first time on that distant 2nd of April, 2002. On that day the Lord called me to represent Don Bosco for you and the Salesian Family. It was an undeserved grace, I believe, and I confess that it encouraged me to identify myself with our Father more each day, identify with his concern for the Congregation, his passion for the young. I know that however much I thank him in the remaining days of my life I could never repay this debt of God’s love. May he be forever blessed!
My gratitude extends to each and every one of you, my dear confreres. I have felt accepted and very much loved, though I know that all the signs of respect and love I received were the expression of your affection and filial devotion to Don Bosco. Everyone’s understanding and endorsement, the availability and the obedience I encountered in so many of you have been a real support in the exercising of my ministry. May God bless you as I, with all my heart, do!
I do not hide the fact that during these twelve years as Rector Major there has been no lack of pains and sorrows, some more sorrowful because inexplicable or unexpected. However, like Don Bosco in his dream of the pergola of roses, I have walked amidst thorns… However the pain felt and the loneliness experienced helped me to see with greater clarity the good that God, through each one of you, is achieving. I can tell you that today I feel very proud to be a Salesian, not only to have our holy Founder as a Father but also to have you as my confreres.
I am sure that whoever will be elected after me will take care “of you and your salvation”. As Don Bosco did one day, I now urge you: “listen to him, love him, obey him, pray for him as you did for me”. And may Mary Help of Christians, Mother and teacher of Don Bosco and each one of us, guide and accompany you in living out your consecration. Thank you, with all my heart.
Rome, 24 March 2014
Fr Pascual Chávez S., sdb