Fr. Andy Richardson 2008-2012

Fr. Andy came to Kettering following his ordination in 2008. He stayed with us as an Assistant Priest until September 2012 before moving on to Our Lady of Peace, Burnham as Priest in Charge. These articles deal with his ordination.

The Ordination of Fr. Andrew Richardson

Article from The Vine – August 2008: p7

The Ordination of Fr. Andy Richardson, 2008. Lying prostrate in front of the altar
The ordination of Andrew Richardson to the priesthood on 21 June recorded a series of firsts. He was the first priest to be ordained by Bishop Peter. He was also the first ever to be ordained in St John’s Luton. And he was the first priest for five years ordained for the Diocese.  Priests, deacons and parishioners filled the church to capacity. Birmingham’s cream and gold chasubles acted as a foil to Northampton’s white.

Vesting of Fr. Andy Richardson by Fr Mark Floody and Fr. John McArdle Bishop Peter receives a first blessing from Fr. Andy Richardson
Vesting by Fr. Mark Floody & Fr. John McArdle

A first blessing for the bishop

Mgr Mark Crisp, rector of Oscott seminary presented Andrew to Bishop Peter. Then the Bishop addressed the people and Andrew in particular on the duties and responsibilities of a priest.
“Today, Andy, the Spirit is poured out on you to be a co-worker with me and with my successors as teacher, priest and shepherd in the service of God’s people. Today you are being consecrated as a true priest of the New Testament, being called to gather together the people of God.”
“Do not be afraid. May the peace and joy of Christ be in your heart. May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to completion.”

Canon John Udris was cantor for the Litany of the Saints. Then came the moment of consecration when Bishop Peter laid hands on Andrew, followed by all the priests. Frs Mark Floody and John McArdle vested the new priest in stole and chasuble; then Bishop Peter anointed his hands with Chrism. His Aunt Ann and brother David carried up the offertory gifts which the Bishop presented to him.

After the Mass Bishop Peter asked Fr Andrew to bless him. Then family, friends and parishioners queued to receive his first blessings. A magnificent reception, prepared by parishioners greeted the guests. There were gifts for Andrew and gifts from him and thanks in plenty.
Fr Andrew said it was all overwhelming!

The Journey

Consecration of Fr. Andy Richardson by Bishop Peter, 2008

Fr Andrew Richardson is the youngest of three brothers. He was born in Luton, attended Cardinal Newman School and has a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering from UMIST.

His mother brought him up as a Catholic but he lapsed in his teens. His father died when he was 14. His return to the faith began, strangely enough, at University where he met dedicated young Christians of other denominations whose faith meant a lot to them.
Andrew began working in the petro-chemical industry in London and it was there that he felt God calling him. He went on an Alpha course and began reading about religion. One day in Ruislip he went into a Catholic church with his mind in turmoil and was overcome by a sense of peace.
“I realised that this was home,” he said. “This is where I belong. I put it down to the Real Presence.”

Fr. Andy Richardson and family after ordination in 2008
Fr. Andy with his Family

Andrew went back to Luton to live with his mum. He visited Fr Mark Floody and was drawn into the life of the parish of St John.
“Gradually I got more involved, but I felt that there was something missing. I started reading the New Testament and began to think that God wanted me to give my all and serve him in that ministry. It started off as a niggle that wouldn’t go away – and it got stronger.”
He took the plunge; gave up chemical engineering; was accepted for training by Bishop Kevin McDonald and went to Oscott seminary. His first year was very difficult, partly because his mother had just died. But then he found the Lord giving him what he needed at every step. “Somehow through all those difficult times I had the sense of being held by God. I began growing in trust that that will continue throughout my ministry and my life,” he said. “I am incredibly blessed.”
Fr. Mark Floody presents gifts from the parish
Fr. Mark Floody presents gifts from the parish

“I think this is a very exciting time to be a Christian, to be a priest,” Fr Andrew says. “The whole dynamic of mission is changing. We’re living in a culture that is post-Christian and we haven’t defined new ways to evangelise. I hope my ministry will encourage and support the lay faithful in a parish in their calling to evangelise and build up the Church.

“Over the years I’ve grown aware of God’s love, feeling it, feeling blessed. I hope to communicate that to others, to know that’s something real and not just an abstract. We need to communicate that to the young people. There are so many opposing voices. “I just hope and pray that God has in store for me that people will experience his presence and his love. And I guess that the good times that you can ring-fence will help you get through the difficult times.”

Fr Andrew has been appointed to Kettering.


The Day I Was Changed – Fr. Andy Richardson Looks back to His Ordination
Article from The Vine – November 2008: P10

My ordination to the priesthood on 21st June 2008 will be a day that I will always treasure. Apart from the fact that, through Bishop Peter’s laying-on of hands, I have been changed “ontologically”, that is, changed at the deepest level of my being, such that my relationship with God and with his People is now different, and that I have, through that change, received the gifts necessary to fulfil my ministry as a priest, the ordination in the Parish of The Holy Family and St. John the Apostle, Luton, will also, I believe, profoundly shape my ministry, in that it was such a powerful expression of what a parish is called to be.

Ever since I first came back to Mass at the Church of St. John the Apostle in 1999, after having lapsed for a number of years, Fr Mark Floody and the Parish have provided me with an extended family. This was most touchingly evident when I received such love and support when my mother died in 2002.

This love and support has been an expression for me of the tender love that the father shows his son in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), and which is depicted in Rembrandt’s painting of the “Return of the Prodigal Son”. This image has spoken to me very powerfully ever since I first went back to Mass at St. John’s, and was, on that Sunday, being used by Fr Mark to explain the gospel of the Prodigal Son, in preparation for the Great Jubilee Year 2000. For this reason I chose that particular image for the front cover of my ordination booklet and for my prayer cards.

The ordination itself was, for me, a crowning of the love and support that I have received over the years. What struck me most, I think, was the amount of care and effort that went into the preparations for the day, and the hospitality shown on the day itself, which allowed the ordination to be a prayerful and uplifting experience for everyone. The whole experience, but particularly the love and support shown by the parish community, was simply overwhelming. Having experienced such love and support, I hope and pray that I too may, with the parishes I serve in the future, continue to communicate the Father’s merciful love and compassion to all.

From a wider perspective, it was also wonderful to see so many people at the ordination from parishes around the diocese who have also supported, encouraged, and prayed for me during my journey to the priesthood, and have welcomed me into their parish families. In particular I would like to thank the parishes of Saints Philip and James, Brickhill; The Holy Family, Langley; the Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate and St. Thomas of Canterbury, Northampton; and finally St. Edward’s, Kettering, whom I very much look forward to joining in September.

If I was to pick out one moment during the ordination itself that stands out for me in particular, it would have to be just after the ordination rite itself, when I joined the other priests to concelebrate the Eucharist. I remember asking the question: Now that I have just been ordained a priest, do I feel any different? The answer came to me quite surprisingly, and with a sense of great joy and excitement. I suddenly became aware deep within of a new outward drive, a newfound desire and power to serve. What struck me was that this is not about me; it is about Jesus Christ, and allowing Him to minister to His People whom He loves so deeply. None of us need worry. He has given us what we need, and He will continue to give to us, His Church, what we need to serve Him faithfully. We are not to rely upon our own power, but on His.

I now look forward very much to serving as a priest in the Diocese of Northampton.

God bless, Fr Andy.

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Keywords: Fr. Andy Richardson; Ordination
Transcriber: GG: 2009