Denaby Priest Returns – Warm Welcome after Illness

October 1939

Mexborough & Swinton Times, October 21

Denaby Priest´s Return
Warm Parish Welcome After Illness
Many Tributes

“Father Lehane has given us seven years of his priestly life and I myself have never worked with a better colleague”, said Fr. J. Holohan (Parish priest of St. Alban´s Catholic Church, Denaby) when he paid a tribute to Fr. C. Lehane (curate of the church) at a joint gathering of welcome for Fr. Lehane in St. Alban´s Catholic Club, on Monday. Fr. Lehane was obliged to leave Denaby seven months ago owing to ill health and has been recuperating in Scotland.

Parishioners from English Martyrs Church, Mexborough, and many non-Catholics, together with members of St. Alban´s Church combined to fill the club almost to capacity and a concert was given by members of the amateur dramatic societies of the Mexborough and Denaby churches.

Fine Work Recognised

During the interval in the lengthy programme, Mr. John Finn, president of St. Alban´s club, said that representatives of both parishes wished to pay tributes to Fr. Lehane and express their appreciation of the fine work he had done for the two churches.

Mr. Richard Dunn, representing the Denaby parishioners, said it was sufficient tribute to Fr. Lehane to know that both Catholics and non-Catholics were commonly interested in the news that he was getting well. Speaking on behalf of the Denaby people they all joined in offering thanks for Fr. Lehane´s return to health.

Mr. Dunn said Fr. Lehane had proved his ability to lead: His training had been an excellent one and of that they had had evidence when he had taken over the parish. He hoped Fr. Lehane would not be leaving the parish, but if he was taken away from them then he hoped he would take away with him happy memories of the times he had spent in Denaby.

Representing Mexborough parishioners, Mr. Tom McDermott said people of Mexborough had a very high opinion of Fr. Lehane and in his rounds as a collector he had been constantly asked for news of Fr. Lehane wherever he went. Thanks to Fr. Lehane being in constant touch with the two parishes through the medium of Fr. Riordan he had been able to tell them of Fr. Lehane´s progress.

Dr. J. M. O´Donnell (Warmsworth) said he wanted to pay a tribute too to Fr. Lehane, who was such an intimate friend of his. It was not strange that Catholics had such loyalty and affection for their priests as had been demonstrated that night. Fr. Lehane lived only seven miles from his home in Ireland and it had been a strange coincidence that they had met so close together in Yorkshire. Fr. Lehane was ready to carry on God´s work in Denaby and he was assured of the love and affection of all his parishioners because he (Dr. O´Donnell) had had his finger on the pulse of most of them!(laughter).

Seven Years Stay

Fr. J. Holohan (Parish Priest) said it was a great pleasure to join with the others in honouring Fr. Lehane and in thanking God for Fr. Lehane´s speedy recovery. Fr. Lehane had been with them for seven years and they had campaigned together.

“I might say”, said Fr. Holohan “that the parish of St. Alban´s of Denaby and English Martyrs, Mexborough is not an easy parish. No priest who comes here finds it a bed of roses. So many things have to be cared for. The spiritual things must come first, but the material things must be there to support the spiritual, and I can say as parish priest that during the period Fr. Lehane has been here both sections have been cared for and he is still curate of St Albans”.

How long he would be with them he did not know. As a matter of fact, he said, no parish priest knew, because there was someone to send him and someone else to take him away, but at the moment Fr. Lehane was with them and he joined with the parishioners in giving him a welcome back to the parish after his period of absence through illness.

“I have been asked”, Fr. Holohan concluded, “to express in some tangible way your appreciation of Fr. Lehane during his stay here and at the same time your joy because he is well again and thirdly, because after his absence he is back again among us as one of our curates”.

Fr. Lehane said that were he even very eloquent he would be at a loss to express his sentiments to them that night. He was very pleased to be there among them. First of all they would remember that when he became ill last April, Fr. Holohan was far from well himself, but as soon as he heard of his condition Fr. Holohan, despite the further burdens thrown on his shoulders, advised him to take the necessary precautions.


From the very first day that he heard that he was ill he was treated as no son was treated by his father. Frs. Riordan and Hinchliffe kept him informed on matters of parochial interest and told him of the prayers being said for his speedy recovery. He fully appreciated the welcome he had been accorded in Denaby and he assured them that Denaby and its memories would always remain in his heart.

Hitler and Stalin were not forgotten in the concert which accompanied the welcome and the programme was well flavoured with war-time songs. Members of the Mexborough English Martyrs Church Amateur Dramatic Society taking part were Misses S. Barry, A. Feely, K. Fallon, K Vickers and E McDermott and Messrs. E. Corcoran, C. Meakin, F. Beardsley and J. Foley.

Members of the St. Alban´s Concert Party were Messrs. J. Dolly, T. Dolly, J. Littlewood, P. Reddington and M. Rogers.


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