Local Face: Father Wayne Coughlin

  |  Published: Dec 1st 2013

Father Wayne Coughlin celebrated his inaugural Mass as Parish Priest in St Anne’s Roman Catholic Church on 31 October during which he made his Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity. He read to the joint congregation at the Churches Together in Wendover Annual Memorial Service in St Mary’s Church on the first Sunday in November. He then attended the Remembrance Parade on the Manor Waste the Sunday afterwards. He has plunged himself into parish life from his first moments among us. Father Wayne is already getting to know his parishioners and is looking forward very much to his first Christmas in Wendover.

Father Wayne was born and brought up in Cardiff. Despite his Welsh upbringing, he is not likely to be popping back to the Millennium Stadium during the season. He’s more likely to be enjoying a film at the cinema, a regular  haunt.

Father Wayne’s training for the priesthood took him initially to St Alban’s College, Valladolid, Spain. The Valladolid Holy Week celebrations were declared Fiesta of International Tourist Interest of Spain in 1981 and for the most part, only local people can participate. However, students of St Alban’s College, who are predominantly of English and Welsh origin, are an integral part of the celebration and in the procession carry the damaged statue of our Lady Vulnerata, brought to the college in 1600.

After a year in Valladolid, Father Wayne’s training continued at St Mary’s College (Oscott), Sutton Coldfield. Here he became familiar with the practice of blessing graves during the month of November. The student priests accompany families visiting graves to light candles in a ceremony familiar in Catholic Europe but no longer widely practiced in England.  Hundreds of people attend each year and their appreciation is palpable.

His most poignant memory of Oscott is of fellow seminarian Ben Grist who was ordained deacon and priest on 30 June 2012 as he had been diagnosed with aggressive cancer from which he died on 14 October 2012. Father Ben Grist is now an inspiration to all he met during his illness.  From his hospital bed he exercised his priestly ministry with grace and humour.

Father Wayne’s first posting was to Our Lady of Charity and Saint Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church in Daventry as Assistant Priest. He was very struck by the persistence of the influence of the Sacred Hearts Fathers, who served the parish until 2000/2001. They were particularly concerned with Social Justice issues and to this day the parish still distributes food parcels and Tesco vouchers from the presbytery. He is fascinated to have arrived in a Parish which has also been heavily influenced by the Sacred Hearts Fathers, who only left this area in 1995.

Within a day of arriving in Wendover, Father Wayne had to comfort the family of well known parishioner, Cathy Brackley. He celebrated her Requiem Mass on Saturday 9 November, the day before she would have laid the wreath for the Royal British Legion for whom she was Life President. This gave Father Wayne the opportunity to meet more Wendover folk.

Father Wayne has three aims for his work in this parish:

1. Celebration of the Sacraments

2. Preaching the word of Christ

3. Pastoral care of the people of the parish and hence getting to know the community

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