Because he didn't have a home in the diocese Stephen was welcomed by the parish priest and people of St Raphael's, Surbiton, as a parish base. He very much appreciated the welcome he received there and often spoke about the warmth and kindness he experienced. For some time, however, Stephen had been thinking about his family and friends back home and towards the end of last term sought the Archbishop's permission to transfer to Salford, his home diocese. Thus he started this academic year as the first Salford student to train at St John's.
Stephen went home to Manchester for the seminary half-term and died in his sleep that night. His death is a great shock to his family and friends and also to the College community at St John's. Apart from celebrating a Requiem Mass on Thursday, the College has entered a period of mourning gathering together each day to pray the midday office for the dead.
On Wednesday I spoke with Bishop Terence Brain who spoke of Stephen's joyful personality, a trait which endeared him to everyone. He also assured me of his prayers for the repose of his soul. Please join us in prayer for Stephen, and also for the consolation of his father and for the other members of his family.
The Funeral Mass will take place at 12.00 noon on Monday 3rd November at:
St Joseph's Catholic Church
23 Gorton Road
Stockport SK5 6AZ