The Catholic community in North Walsham, which is linked with St John of the Cross, Aylsham and St Helen, Hoveton, had of course been saddened by the announcement of Fr James Walsh’s retirement. But since the parish has recently seen an influx of Indians and their families coming to work locally, many of them Catholics, it would seem a happy coincidence that Fr Peter is himself from India, from Margao, Goa, on the west coast of that great sub-continent.
When he arrived and took up his duties in the three churches there was an immediate response from parishioners of welcoming warmth. The community could see from the very start of his ministry that he offered an extraordinary clarity of the Gospel message, together with an energetic and total dedication.
“We are indeed a very happy parish,” writes Antonia Martínez, “agog at the innovations Fr Peter so quickly has in mind to bring about, in order to reach as many as he can, both old and young, with the love of our Lord.”
Fr Peter is fairly new to this country. Having visited family living here in the UK when on holiday on a number of occasions, he felt the call to dedicate his life to the people of East Anglia, leaving behind his family, friends, culture and comforts. He served as an assistant priest at Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge for 20 months. Bishop Alan then appointed and installed him as the parish priest of St Mark’s Church, Ipswich; but after a year he was asked to take on the responsibility of St Mary’s Parish with the coming of the Carmelite Community to St Mark’s Church. He faithfully carried out his pastoral duties at St Mary’s Church, Ipswich, for the last three years.
“At the Sacred Heart we have been extremely blessed with our different pastors,” writes Antonia. “Now, with the commencement of Fr Peter’s time with us, hopefully for many years, the parish can look forward to further enlightenment in our faith from his spiritual fervour and energy.”
Pictured above is Fr Peter Raj