Fr. Jim Allen's Biography Page 2

While Father Jim was in HMS Liverpool we had the freedom of the city and there are some photos of this - see below - and my Mum and Dad, and Uncle John and Aunty Veronica attended.

In January of 1983 I went off to the Caribbean with HMS Rhyl.

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January 1983: HMS Rhyl deployed to the Caribbean and Charleston USA:

HMS Rhyl was a Rothesay or Type 12I class anti-submarine frigate of the British Royal Navy, launched by Lady Macmillan on 23 February 1959 and commissioned in October 1960. Following Royal Navy service she was sunk as a target in 1985.

She was home for Father Jim through till late spring of 1983 and with a deployment of other ships we visited Charleston in the USA (this is where the Civil War started)  and then on to Dominique in the Caribbean plus other visits.

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1983 - 1985: HMS Sultan, Collingwood and Daedalus:

On Father Jim’s return from the USA/Caribbean deployment he was sent to be chaplain to the above establishments; and he was based at the Fleet Air Arm Establishment of HMS Daedalus on Lee on Solent. For nearly two years Father Jim was involved in RE Classes, Parades etc at the three establishments. He lived in a little cottage opposite the Wardroom of HMS Daedalus.

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May 1985 - October 1986 HMS Rooke Gibraltar:

Father Jim thoroughly enjoyed his time in Gibraltar looking after the three Services: Royal Navy, Army and the Royal Airforce.  The social life was excellent and the boarder was open...

While he served in Gibraltar Father Jim managed to learn to ski. I can hear you say “ski in Gibraltar”? Father Jim went with a party of army lads to Sierra Navada at the back of Granada for R&R.  “It was one of the best things I ever said yes too and I am pleased to have learned to ski!” says Father Jim.

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January 1987- 1989 HMS Faslane:

Father Jim’s next to last  appointment in the Navy, was at HMS  Faslane on the west coast of Scotland the home of the Trident  submarines. Although when he served there it was the Polaris subs that were the deterrent  against the Soviet block.

On a couple of occasions my family came up and as you can see Loch Lomand is on the door step!

While in Scotland Father Jim joined a Neo Catechumenal community at St Thomas’s, Ridrey, Glasgow. This was a moment that changed his life and it was the Neo Catechumenate that helped to renew his priesthood.

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1989 - 1990: Royal Marines & HMS Drake:

His final few months after Faslane were spent with the Royal Marines and then de - mobbing  at HMS Drake in Plymouth. In 1990 He left the forces EARLY to go as an Itinerant priest in the USA for a year with the blessing of Bishop Brewer. 

While he was with the Royal Marines he:

First went on exercise up the Mull of Kintire.

Second a tour in Northern Ireland - being lifted into Ops on the baoarder by helicopter

And finally he did the warfare training in Narvic in Norway from January till March 1989, and also did a tour in Norther Ireland at Newry.

The following photographs portray Father Jim’s exploits in the above order.

A couple of photos of deployment with the Royal Marines in Northern Ireland:

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1989 - 1990: Royal Marines & HMS Drake:

His final few months after Faslane were spent with the Royal Marines and then de - mobbing  at HMS Drake in Plymouth. In 1990 He left the forces EARLY to go as an Itinerant priest in the USA for a year with the blessing of Bishop Brewer. 

While he was with the Royal Marines he:

First went on exercise up the Mull of Kintire.

Second a tour in Northern Ireland - being lifted into Ops on the baoarder by helicopter

And finally he did the warfare training in Narvic in Norway from January till March 1989, and also did a tour in Norther Ireland at Newry.

The following photographs portray Father Jim’s exploits in the above order.

A couple of photos of deployment with the Royal Marines in Northern Ireland:

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September 1990 - September 1992:

On leaving the Forces Father Jim went to live in Guardian Angels, Mile End, until he was sent to America 

to join a couple called Josef and Joyce and their five children , who were from Queens, New York.  In his year’s itinerancy Father  Jim worked in deprived areas in New Orleans, Washington DC, New York (Queens) and Boston.

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September 1991 - July 2004 Parish Priest of St Patrick’s Barrow Island:

A year later he was appointed Parish Priest of St. Patrick’s on Barrow Island in Barrow-in-Furness.

St Patrick’s was situated between Walney and Barrow-in-Furness mainland. In fact nearly the whole of B I was made up of the shipyard and tenaments.  I. Father Jim was appointed the chaplain to the shipyard known then as “Vickers” Later it became BAE Systems and the work force reduced from about 15000 to less than 5000.  Later he also became chaplain to Furness General Hospital. In these years he bought a 32 foot yacht called “Impala” Over the years Father Jim sail with his family in the Irish Sea and sailed as far as Oban to the North; and Plymouth to the South West; and Fastnet rocks to the South East. These trips were done usually through his months summer vacation.  Look at the photos!!

 

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March 2001:

I was privileged to preside at an “Automatic Launch” of a naval ship. HMS Albion. She  is an amphibious transport dock of the Royal Navy, the first of the two-ship Albion class. Built by BAE Systems Marine in Barrow-in-Furness, Albion was launched in March 2001 by the Princess Royal.

Before the millennium Father Jim was given permission from Bishop Jack Brewer to renovate and renew the Church of St Patrick’s, and this was done under the expert eye of our grand forman Derek Cockin.  There are photographs of the reordering in the gallery.

Father Jim’s nephew spent hours and hours writing the main icon on the specially made wall which was the back drop for the whole of the reordering.

Sadly now (2018) St Patrick’s is closed and deconsecrated but the icons are still there and make the place beautiful.

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In May 1997 Father Jim celebrated his Silver Jubilee to the Priesthood, and it was a wonderful night with all his family around him.

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July 2004 - October 2018 continuing:

In July 2004 Bishop Patrick asked me to move from Barrow to Carlisle - to St Bede’s Church and I arrived in my new parish on the last day of Summer term  2004. Soon after arriving I had to do major work in the Church because the whole wiring was very dangerous and so that was done and also the Church was painted and a Ukrainian Icon writer did all the icons in the Lady Chapel and on the sanctuary wall.

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June 2009 - St Bede’s Church Golden Jubilee:

One of the highlights in the history of the parish of St Bede’s is the celebrations marking the Golden Jubilee of the building of St Bede’s Church. See the photographs of this occasion in the galleries.

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May 2012 Father Jim celebrates his Forty Years of the Priesthood:

Another memorable night, with all his family around him. A great achievement with God’s mercy. This is what Father Jim wrote on the occasion of his 40th Jubilee:

FORTY YEARS!!!

I was ordained forty years ago on the 28th May 1972 in St Cuthbert’s, Blackpool, by Bishop Foley. It is a miracle that I am still here, and proof that this is  God’s wish for me – to be his presbyter.More importantly it is proof of His great love for me!  A lot of water has gone under the bridge in these last forty years, sometime a flood, and some time a trickle!

My first appointment was with Father Michael Taylor in St Benedict’s, Whitehaven as a new  assistant priest with lots of energy and enthusiasm. In these four years we built the church, and I started a rugby union club, that I am proud to say, is still flourishing today!

After four years I was posted to St Augustine’s, Preston, for two years; and from there I joined the Royal Navy/Marines as a chaplain. Working in the forces was certainly exciting and very varied. In one appointment I would be serving personnel at sea, and the next working with new recruits at Torpoint for example. Of course it was good to get around and visit many countries.

A defining moment in my life was when I was introduced to the Neo Catechumenate in Glasgow, while serving as a chaplain in the Navy Base of Faslane in the year 1987.  The Neo Catechumenate has saved and renewed my priesthood. It sounds a little dramatic but it is true that up to 1987 I was just going through the motions as a priest, and at the same time being greatly influenced by all the temptations around me.

Since joining the Neo Catechumenal Way I have come to see that God has a great love and mercy for me, a sinner, and that he is very patient with my weakness and shortcomings.  This realisation has helped me to respond to His love.

The Lord moved me to leave the Forces early, and for a year Bishop Brewer allowed me to go as an itinerant priest to the USA with the Neo  Catechumenate. On my recall I spent a year as assistant in the Blessed Sacrament, Preston. In 1992 I was appointed Parish Priest of St Patrick’s, Barrow in Furness, and besides being PP I was chaplain to the Shipyard and the Hospital. Twelve years later I was moved to my present position of Parish Priest of St Bede’s, Carlisle.

After forty plus years I can honestly say that I am in the right vocation, and I do recommend the priesthood to any of you single young, or not so single men. There are times when life is hard, and a slog from one day to another, with lots of failure! But there are many times when I get a great kick from proclaiming Christ, and experiencing, people’s joy at hearing the “Good News” that they are greatly loved by the Lord. The joy and fulfilment in my priestly life is knowing God’s patience to me, and his continual presence in my life.  The Psalmist words come to mind: “They go out, they go out, full of tears, carrying seeds for the sowing; they come back, they come back, full of song, carrying their sheaves”. (Psalm 125)

“WOW”  “FORTY YEARS”!

Father Jim Allen

Thursday, 08 November 2012

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16th July 2017: Merging St Bede’s & St Edmund’s into a new parish of Cumbrian Martyrs’:

After wide consultation St Bede’s and St Edmund’s merged into a new parish of “The Cumbrian Martyrs’” . The name was chosen after short listing some names and this was the favourite which Bishop Campbell chose. Below is the decree issued by the Bishop of Lancaster.

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