Anne Butler donated these two photos of Fr
Rijkers, after a recent appeal for memorabilia at Our Lady, Queen of Apostles
Church, Bishop's Waltham.
We are hoping that other parishioners will soon be sending us more material
from the days when the White Fathers ran the parish church during their
stay at The Priory.
(Source : Mrs Anne Butler)
The following extract is from "The
History Of St Columba's", attributed to Fr leonard Marchant, (copied
over from Page 11 of the HISTORIES section):
". . . perhaps the most memorable event of The Priory Boys stay
in Scotland was the death of Fr Dorus Rijkers. Dorus,
as everyone called him, was born in the Netherlands in 1907, made his
novitiate at Maison Carree in 1926 and was ordained priest in 1932.
He taught for a time in Holland and then, partly for health reasons,
he was transferred to The Priory and came up North with the students
in 1940. He became a popular figure in the Border parishes, but in 1942
he was admitted to St Raphaels, Edinburgh and died there from
kidney failure on the 27th April 1942. His body was taken to St Peters,
Morningside on the 29th and from there brought by train to St Boswells
Station. There, both communities met the coffin and carried it in relays
of Philosophers and Junior Seminaries up to the College. His Requiem
was sung by Fr James Smith (in charge of the boys) assisted by Frs Egan
and Lea as deacon and sub-deacon. Fr Walsh blessed the tomb in the new
cemetery prepared on a site overlooking the old Abbey below."
Left to right: The
graves of Frs Drost, Rijkers and Griffin at
St Columba's recently cleaned up by some of the Pelicans, during
the Scottish reunion in September 2003.
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For your convenience, I have also
copied over an item from Eugene's Newsletter No. 41 (see the NEWS section)
" . . . Mrs Barbara Goodrich, a parishioner and mother
of Anne Butler, showed us the photo below - featuring many family
members and our very own Fr Rijkers (who was a member of staff
at the Priory 1936 - 40). "
(source: Barbara Goodrich)
Left to right, 'at the back':
Fr Rijkers, Simon Foley, William Goodrich, Charlie Adams, Elizabeth
Goodrich, Howard Goodrich, Marjorie Foley & Simon Foley
Front, right: Godmother Phyllis Shannon, holding the baby Patrick
Goodrich, Kathleen Adams, Alice Foley, and Barbara Goodrich (who lent
us the photo).
Peter Finn has kindly allowed me to re-print the following two extracts
from his book "History of The Priory Bishop's Waltham"
A Bishop's Waltham Parish
May 1931 Father Voillard, the Superior General, had,
during his visitation, called on Bishop Cotter of Portsmouth
and at that meeting had agreed to Bishop's Waltham becoming
a Catholic parish in the care of the White Fathers with the
Father Superior as parish priest. Subsequent to the concurrence
of the Portsmouth Chapter, the erection of the new parish was
announced in a letter from Cotter to Fr Bouniol,
which he received on the 17th October 1931. Bouniol, as the
new parish priest, informed the parishioners at Mass on Sunday
the 25th October.
Until this time the chapel had been considered by the bishop
as a private place of worship in which public Masses could be
said for the benefit of Eastleigh parishioners. About once a
month Father Hickey (until 1916) and then Father Doran
(until 1931) cycled, or came by train, from Eastleigh to say
a public Mass. They would arrive on Friday evenings to hear
parishioners' confessions and stay overnight to say the Parish
Mass at 8am on Saturday morning. This was considered convenient
both for the priests, who had to attend to services at the parish
church in Eastleigh on Saturday evening and Sunday, and for
the Bishop's Waltham parishioners because there was no satisfactory
public transport on a Sunday.
Now that the chapel was a parish church it was dedicated to
Our Lady Queen of Apostles,
which was the same name that had been adopted for the Heston
Parish Church in 1929.
Bishop's Waltham was a scattered rural parish of about 100 square
miles with few Catholics. In 1913 the Catholic population was
about 30.112 The number of parishioners grew very slowly, but
from this small number in the 1930s came a White Father John
Miller), a White Sister (Myra Spurr, who took the
name Sister Mildred), and a Jesuit priest. In addition
to services in the school chapel, Mass was said on Sundays in
parishioners' homes in outlying areas, mostly by Father Kingseller
who from 1943 dashed from one place to another in a tiny Austin
Seven car. Regular venues from 1942 were: Beachcroft at Curdridge
from 1942-1960; the hall and Station Hotel at Droxford from
1957 to 1960; and the racing stables and village hall at Owslebury
from 1956 to 1960. Maybe Masses in the outlying areas ceased
in 1960 because parishioners had their own cars and could get
into Bishop's Waltham on a Sunday.
In 1955 the first full time parish priest, Father Gerard
Burton, was appointed, and the White Fathers continued to
provide full time pastors until a diocesan priest was appointed
On the 2nd February 1913 a letter from the Vicar General of
the Portsmouth Diocese granted the Superior and his priests
permission for public Masses to be said in the chapel, to preach
sermons, and to teach the catechism. However, all collections
of money were to go to the parish priest at Eastleigh. Until
this time only a few parishioners had attended what was a private
chapel, and none at all turned up for the first Christmas Midnight
Mass in 1912, although three attended the 10.30am Mass on Christmas
morning. The first public Mass, the first sermon (preached by
Fr Travers) and the first collection were on Sunday the
4th February 1913 when the small makeshift chapel overflowed.
Thereafter there was never sufficient room in the chapel at
the parish Mass on Sundays and feast days, and the boys were
compelled to stand outside on these occasions.The first catechism
class with 10 children present was on Sunday the 16th March
In August 1913 Fr Travers suggested to the Parish Priest of
Eastleigh that he would like one collection to help furnish
the new chapel, which was being built as part of the school
extension and which would serve the parishioners. Fr Hickey
referred the request to the Bishop who replied that they had
'come with a promise not to make collections, the chapel is
not a chapel-of-ease, and all collections must go to the Parish
Priest'. The fathers were not only serving the parishioners
in an area of 100 square miles around Bishop's Waltham, but
from the beginning of 1913 they were helping out at parishes
around the diocese every weekend. From 1918 onwards some of
the parish priests expressed their gratitude with special collections
for the White Fathers or contributed from their own pockets
sums varying from £5 to £10. Father Doran,
who replaced Hickey at Eastleigh and who many times depended
on the fathers to run the Eastleigh church and parish when he
was away, was especially generous.
Canon Gunning was also kind in a practical way by inviting
the fathers to visit him whenever they were in Winchester. On
Easter Monday, 24 March 1913 six months after their arrival
he gave the boys and three of the fathers a conducted
tour of the cathedral and the West Gate museum, and then took
them all back to his house at 9 St Peter Street for a meal.
They were delighted to find themselves ushered into a comfortable,
brightly lit room with a twinkling fire and a table laid with
food, bread and beer. Bread, beer and cheese figured prominently
on the menu during the first few years.