POPULAR priest Father Tom Grufferty is bidding a fond farewell to parishioners – following almost 500 baptisms and 120 weddings.
Father Tom, who has been in charge of St Thomas’s in Emsworth, and St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in West Street, Havant, for 22 years, has been asked to take up a new post in Dorset.
He is much-loved by his congregation and the wider community where he has forged close links between all the churches. Father Tom, from County Mayo in Ireland, said he will miss the area a great deal but is looking forward to a new challenge.
“A move following a lengthy stay in one place is a great opportunity to take stock of one’s blessings, on how one is enriched,” he said.
“I have been powerfully enriched by people. Parishioners have become real friends.
“We’re blessed with all the churches doing wonderful things together. I shall miss that friendship and fellowship.”
Father Tom said his greatest memories were of the hundreds of baptisms he had carried out.
He added: “My work in St Thomas More’s School and Oaklands has given me great satisfaction.
“I leave the area for pastures new with many wonderful memories and eager to face new horizons and a new landscape.”