Mrs 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 Raphael’s, Edinburgh and died there from kidney failure on the 27th April 1942. His body was taken to St Peter’s, 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).

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Corpus Christi Mass, 1948, in The Priory grounds.

First Communion Day for many parishioners :

Peter Finn has kindly allowed me to re-print the following two extracts from his book "History of The Priory Bishop's Waltham" :


Pages 88- 89

A Bishop's Waltham Parish

In 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 in 1970.

Pages 41- 42

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 1913.

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.