Catholic Life

Beloved priest is buried

Fr Winterton’s coffin is carried to the secluded Oratory community graveyard

Fr Paul Chavasse was the principal celebrant at the Requiem Mass for Fr Gregory Winterton at the Birmingham Oratory in Edgbaston on Tuesday, 24 January 24, writes Peter Jennings.

Fr Guy Nicholls was deacon and Brother Richard Duncan subdeacon. Fr Anton Guziel, parish priest, was Master of Ceremonies.

Bishop Terence Brain of Salford and Bishop Philip Pargeter, retired Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, were present on the sanctuary, together with Fathers from the London and Oxford Oratories, including the Oxford Provost, Fr Daniel Seward.

Fr Robert Byrne, Fr Dominic Jacob and Fr Richard Duffield, who left the Birmingham Oratory in September 1990 to found the Oxford house, were also there to say a last goodbye to their former Provost.

The Oratory Church is also the parish church and it was packed to its doors for the sung Latin Mass. Members of Fr Winterton’s family, including his nephew Michael Winterton, parishioners, and former parishioners, and priests from the Archdiocese of Birmingham were among the great company of mourners.

Also present were representatives of many of the organisations that Fr Gregory had been involved with over the long decades since his ordination in March 1963 as priest of the Birmingham Oratory. 

After the welcome by Fr Chavasse, a message from Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham was read by the vicar general, Canon Timothy Menezes.

After the Requiem Mass the funeral cars made their way solemnly along Hagley Road at the start of their journey to the Oratory House at Rednal on the outskirts of Birmingham, where Fr Winterton was buried in the small, secluded community graveyard.

The earlier drizzle had stopped and the sun was gently breaking through the late January clouds as Fr Chavasse said the final prayers. The coffin was lowered gently into the newly dug grave situated not far from where Blessed John Henry Newman was buried on August 19 1890.

It was a deeply emotional but memorable moment as this last in a long line of much-loved “old-style” Birmingham Oratory Fathers, going back to Blessed John Henry Newman, was laid to rest.