Thanks to Norwich deacon for 30 years of service

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Thanks to Norwich deacon for 30 years of service

Parishioners gathered on the feast of St Henry Morse, February 1, to thank a deacon who has served communities across the city of Norwich for more than 30 years and is now stepping down from full activity.

Ian Hatfield was born in Yorkshire in 1943 and grew up in Belfast, until the age of 24, when he moved to Norwich with wife Meda and his family. He took up employment as a civil servant with Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. Living in West Earlham the family became parishioners in Holy Apostle Parish.

In 1988, Bishop Alan Clarke accepted Ian into the Permanent Diaconate along with 17 others. Bishop Alan ordained Ian to the Permanent Diaconate on May 25, 1991. As well as his parish responsibilities he was appointed, with Dcn Bill Dimelow to be one of the two Assistant Directors of the Permanent Diaconate. Ian held that post  for 14 years, during which he retired from the Civil Service. In April 2004 he moved to St George’s Parish and lived close by next to the Convent of the Congregation of Jesus on Constitution Road and has faithfully served St George’s for past 20 years. Dcn Ian led retreats, prayer groups and gave talks in the parish. He also ministered to parishioners, prison and hospital care as well as taking part in the daily Mass, Services of the Word and Benediction.

Standing in for Bishop Peter Collins, who was unwell, was Fr Andrew Eburne, who concelebrated the Mass of Thanksgiving with priest in charge of St George’s parish Fr Walter Chenyika. Fr Andrew said Dcn Ian’s approach to ministry reflected St Henry Morse whose guiding light in life was that he never lost the desire “to do good for others”.

Dcn Ian said: “I am very grateful for the many the friends I made and for the appreciation given to and expressed for my sermons and prayers. It was an honour and privilege to serve the parish alongside dedicated priests and lay people. Meda, my dearest wife and rock, served as a catechist for the children. She was totally committed to catechesis and the formation of children. She also trained some of the Notre Dame teachers as catechists so that they could go to non-Catholic schools to teach the Catholic children that were studying there.”

“I sadly lost my eldest daughter Judith to a premature heart attack in 2012 and my wife (and my rock) Meda, to stomach cancer in 2018. Life goes on and I am fortunate to have my two surviving daughters and their families close by. And also, many good friends in the parish, the diocese and beyond. I leave all in the loving hands of Our Lord as he continues to journey with me as his disciple always learning and bringing him and his Good News to many more.”

Dcn Ian took part in the Mass of Thanksgiving and later joined his daughter Jenny, her husband John and their two sons with former parish priest Fr Sean Connolly and parishioners for a celebration.

Pictured top are son-in-law John Kershaw, Fr Walter Chenyika, Dcn Ian Hatfield, Fr Sean Connolly, Dcn Anthony Asomugha (Seminarian due to be ordained a priest on May 18), and daughter Jenny Kershaw. Above Dcn Ian is presented with a gift at the farewell event. PIctures by Patrick Bryne and Dalia Binson.