Tributes for former Burnley hospitals' chaplain who devoted 60 years of his life to priesthood

A much loved priest, who served as chaplain to Burnley hospitals for nine years, has died at the age of 87.

By Sue Plunkett
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 11:25 am

Fr Frank Jennings was appointed to St John the Baptist Church in Padiham in 1980 where he served for 20 years.

After his retirement as parish priest in 2000 he took on the hospital chaplaincy role where he became a well loved and committed member of the team. A welcome figure on the wards Fr Jennings celebrated mass daily, welcoming patients, staff and their families.

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A much loved and respected former Padiham parish priest, and chaplain at Burnley hospitals, Fr Frank Jennings, has died at the age of 87

Born in County Galway, Fr Jennings trained at Waterford and was ordained in 1960.

He began his ministry as curate at St Vincent de Paul, Openshaw, before moving to St Hubert's, Great Harwood where he spent two years as curate before returning to Manchester as curate at St Edward, Rusholme from 1966 to 1973. His final curacy was at the English Martyrs, Whalley Range from 1973 to 1980.

Fr Jennings was passionate about encouraging young people to fulfil their potential and, during his 20 years at St John's, the youth club blossomed.

He encouraged parish members to organise activities for young people and pursue new hobbies, including badminton, ice skating and skiing.

Fr Frank Jennings, a former Padiham priest and chaplain at Burnley hospitals, has died aged 87

Fr Jennings ran courses and promoted his parish's involvement with the Right of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and the Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage Trust, organising an annual trip to Lourdes.

He was actively involved with the parish council and was a frequent visitor to St John's Primary School where he knew many of the children by name and loved meeting their families.

Fr Jennings was also a governor at St Augustine's RC High School, Billington.

He was responsible for organising two flower festivals at his church, both major events that were very successful.

One of Fr Jennings last projects before his retirement was the installation of a stained glass window to mark the millennium and celebrate all parishioners at St John's Church.

Paying tribute to Fr Jennings parishioner Kathleen McCann said:" Fr Jennings knew he had a role to play in creating the Kingdom of God and he did this through friendship, loyalty, community and prayer."

Fr Jennings' funeral will take place on Tuesday, August 9th, at St John's with a requiem mass at noon with Bishop John Arnold and priests from the diocese officiating.