Double celebration to mark 25 years

Fr Thomas Wilberforce, left, and Fr Peter Lafferty cut the cake made specially for their anniversary.

Fr Thomas Wilberforce, left, and Fr Peter Lafferty cut the cake made specially for their anniversary.

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Two priests with links to the Motherwell and Bellshill areas celebrated 25 years in their religious orders at a special service.

Fellow priests, parishioners and visitors joined Fr Thomas Wilberforce CSSP - chaplain at Cardinal Newman High School in Bellshill - and Fr Peter Lafferty CSSP for the Silver Jubilee Mass at St Bernadette’s Church, Motherwell, last week.

Fr Wilberforce was born in Ghana and after primary school he attended the Holy Ghost Fathers minor seminary as he felt God’s calling to become a priest.

After this early period, known as novitiate, he made his first religious profession in September 1991 and was ordained a priest in July 1998. He has spent time working as a missionary in Sierra Leone, as well as a number of years in education in Ireland and England.

He has carried out a number of roles within the Holy Ghost Fathers communities.

In October last year Fr Wilberforce was appointed chaplin at Cardinal Newman High School. He has a great passion for the care of children and vulnerable adults.

Fr Peter Lafferty was born in Glasgow. In his youth he was a member of the youth supporters of the Holy Ghost Fathers, who have a base in Carfin, and some St Bernadette’s parishioners remember him from that time.

He joined the Holy Ghost Fathers, now known as The Spiritans, and was ordained a priest at St Francis Xavier Church, Carfin, in September 1991.

In recent years Fr Lafferty has worked as a missionary in South Africa where he is currently chaplain for the University of Durban-Westville.

He also plays a major part in supporting hands-on initiatives for an orphanage in Durban and carries out pastoral work for the diocese in the areas of marriage and family life.

The two priests were congratulated on their special anniversary and wished well in their future religious lives.

After the service they were delighted to cut a cake made specially for the occasion.