Letter of the Minister
On the occasion of his
50th Anniversary of Ordination
to the Priesthood
July 11, 2002
Bishop John, dear confrere,
commitments prevent me from traveling to England to participate in the
celebration of the 50th anniversary of your ordination to
the priesthood July 19 at The Friars in Aylesford, in spirit I join
you and all present to give thanks to God for the grace of your
vocation and for all the good you have so commendably accomplished as
friar, priest and Bishop..
In 1948 you responded
to Godís plan for you and you made your profession of vows in our
Conventual Franciscan Order. You were sent to Rome for clerical
studies. While in Italy you visited Assisi and at the tomb of St.
Francis prayed that he help you follow his Gospel way of life. You
were ordained priest July 19, 1952 in St. Anthonyís Church, Mossley
master, you guided candidates in our Franciscan way of life. You
served as parish priest a number of years. Eager to renew our
Franciscan scholarly inheritance, you succeeded in founding at
Canterbury the Centre of Franciscan Studies, officially recognized by
the University of Kent in 1976. Elected Minister Provincial of England
in 1979, you constantly encouraged the friars to renew their life and
ministry in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.
Pope John Paul II
appointed you titular Bishop of Strathearn, auxiliary of London, and
you were ordained Bishop January 30, 1980. In the extensive territory
from Sussex to the Channel where you exercised your Episcopal
ministry, you constantly urged pastors to be in close touch with their
flock, a service you exemplified in your visits to parishes and people
under your care. You became very well informed in matters of education
and social justice touching problems of labor and often gave important
addresses in national conferences and meetings on these subjects.
When you reached the
age of 75 you submitted your resignation from your Episcopal office.
In your zeal, however, to minister to the faithful and serve the
Church, you offered your services to the Bishop of Aberdeen and
accepted to be pastor of St. Margaretís Church in Huntly, Scotland.
Michael Bowen and the Bishops of the Episcopal Conferences of Great
Britain, with the priests of the archdiocese you served for 20 years,
with the friars of the Province and of the Order, I rejoice with you
and give thanks to God for your faithful ministry, for your testimony
to our Seraphic Father St. Francis. Ad multos
Fr. Joachim A. Giermek