A celebration to mark Worden Park’s diamond jubilee was unveiled at the weekend.
Tributes have been paid to Bishop Ambrose Griffiths, who was the parish priest of St Mary’s, Leyland, for eight years, before being made Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle.
And when he retired as bishop in May 2004, he returned to Leyland to work as assistant priest at St Mary’s again until he died. He had fought a long battle with leukaemia.
Leading church figures described him as ‘much loved’ and ‘very popular’.
Fr Jonathan Cannon, the current parish priest of St Mary’s, said: “He made a big impression on the parish because he was a man who really worked hard for people.
“He had a special love for those who were on the margins of society, people who others might have written off.”
Born in London, Ambrose Griffiths was elected to be the fifth Abbot of Ampleforth by monks there.
But it was his role as parish priest at St Mary’s, where he will be best remembered.
He was part of the town for eight years before being appointed Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle in 1992. He returned to Leyland in 2004 and lived in the town. Three funerals will be held to honour Bishop Griffiths. The first is at St Mary’s, Leyland, on June 30 at 11.30am.
His body will then be taken to the Cathedral Church of St Mary, Newcastle, where it will be received at 7pm.
A funeral mass will be celebrated in the cathedral at noon on July 1, before he is buried on July 2 at Ampleforth Abbey.