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Papal blessing for ministry of East Anglian priest, aged 96

A 96-year-old East Anglian priest marked an incredible 70 years of ministry on January 24 with a Papal Blessing and Mass. Fr Jeffrey Downie reports.

Despite a sudden move into residential care only the day before his anniversary, Peterborough priest Fr Olindo Cramaro was able to celebrate an astonishing 70 years of priesthood. With the help of staff he was joined by friends and some of the local clergy for a simple but joyful celebration of Mass in his new home.

As well as cards, gifts and balloons, Fr Olindo also received a special Papal Blessing from Pope Francis. Cake and drinks were shared as the celebration continued. We wish Fr Olindo well with thanks and prayers for his continued long life and ministry. Ad multos annos!

A native of Italy, Fr Olindo was born in a small village near Udine on November 3, 1927. Ordained priest for the Society of St Paul on January 24, 1954, after one year he was transferred to Northern Ireland for three years.

In 1957, Fr Olindo moved to East Anglia, eventually incardinating into what was then part of the Diocese of Northampton, serving in Norwich and Peterborough. In January 1984, he became parish priest of Southwold, enjoying 20 years of fruitful ministry there before retirement.

In retirement, Fr Olindo returned to Peterborough, settling in Yaxley close to long-time friends Bridget and Roy Day. He continued to remain very active, supporting the local Catholic community, schools and parishes, especially St. Luke’s, enjoying driving around in his Fiat along with Italian food and wine.

At the age of 96, Fr Olindo takes things a little more quietly now, supporting us with his daily prayers, keeping up with the news and welcoming visits from friends.

Pictured above is Fr Olindo seated with Fr Tony Shrayne and Fr Adam Sowa at his 70 anniversary of ministry.