New parish priest is in good voice

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A former monk has taken over as the new parish priest at a Catholic church.

Father Richard Moroney has taken the reins at St Peter’s Catholic Church in Biggleswade, after spending 14 years as a Trappist monk.

The 68-year-old arrives in Biggleswade after stints at other churches in Kettering, Northampton, Milton Keynes and most recently Slough.

He has spent most of his working life as a priest but from the ages of 21 to 25 he was a monk at the Mount Saint Bernard Abbey in Leicester.

Father Moroney, who is originally from Luton, said: “I was brought up as a Catholic but as a teenager it wasn’t something that was massively important in my life.

“Then when I got to 18 I had a calling from God.”

The time spent at the abbey was a rich experience for Father Moroney and he learned a lot from it.

He added: “I was a Trappist monk which means that I only spoke when necessary.

“Talking is not forbidden but noise is kept to a minimum – you would normally be expected to 
only make conversation that is strictly necessary.”

There was a book shop, a farm and other facilities so there was always work for Father Moroney to do.

He said: “I eventually became farm manager, which certainly kept me occupied and of course you would need to speak to each other in your day-to-day work.

“Everyone needs to speak to others sometimes as well, and you would have private meetings where you could talk things over.”

Father Moroney has taken a liking to Biggleswade but he says it will take a bit of time to adapt to rural life.

He added: “Most of my previous posts have been in large towns and cities so the country life is taking a bit of getting used to again!

“It’s so quiet living by the church in Station Road – all you ever hear are the occasional train and police siren. It’s strange!”

The work is also quite different in nature.

Father Moroney added: “At my previous church in Slough there were four acres of land, which I was responsible for looking after.

“Parishioners would help me but now I don’t have to worry about that any more!”

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