Abbot Hugh Allan, O.Praem.
Apostolic Administrator of the Falkland Islands and Superior of the Ecclesiastical Mission to St. Helena, Tristan Da Cunha and Ascension Island
Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time
My brothers and sisters in Christ,
Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever more!
It is with profound trust in the loving mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ that I prepare to take up my appointment as the Apostolic Administrator of the Falkland Islands and Superior of the Mission sui juris of St. Helena Ascension und Tristan da Cunha, in succession to the wonderful Monsignor Michael McParland.
The day after receiving my letter of appointment, I visited Mgr. McParland in the hospital and he gave me his blessing. He also wanted me to pass on his blessings and his love to the people of the South Atlantic. In November, I will make my first visit to the Ascension Islands and then the Falkland Islands. In the New Year, I look forward to making my first visits to Tristan da Cunha and St Helena.
Shakespeare called the prospect of eternity “an undiscovered country.” For me, not only the future but where I hope to become part of the family of God will be an undiscovered territory for me. For most of the year, I will continue to live with my community in Chelmsford, but I will travel around the islands of the South Atlantic each year and hope to become your friend as well as your priest.
Since this is my first pastoral letter to you, allow me to say a little about my background. I was born in Hertfordshire, England, but in a large Scottish family. Our home town is a place called Auchtermuchty which is only three miles from an even smaller village called Falkland! After school, I went to St Mary’s Strawberry Hill and trained to become a teacher. On leaving university, I joined the Norbertine Order. After my novitiate, I was sent to study at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford. I was ordained a priest in November 2002. My first job as a priest was a full time school chaplain to a Catholic High School in North Manchester. In 2004 I was appointed parish priest of Gorton in Manchester. In 2006 I was appointed superior of the Norbertine community in Manchester at the tender age of 29! At the time, I was the youngest religious superior in the world, but time has dealt with that one! In 2008 the Order opened a new Priory in Chelmsford and I was appointed superior here. At the same time I was appointed parish priest of Chelmsford and in recent years I have been the Area Dean for Mid Essex.
In my life as a priest, there has been one guiding principle in all I have tried to do and live – it is the salvation of souls. For me, it will continue to be my motto as I serve you and walk with you. Whether we come from the Islands of the South Atlantic or from the wilds of Essex, for each of us, our true homeland is heaven and it is our joy and responsibility to help each other get to heaven; that is why the salvation of souls in Christ Jesus is our hope and our desire. Let us help each other get to heaven, the undiscovered country we can all hope to see.
May Our Lady, Star of the Sea, enfold us in her love as together we go to Jesus through Mary.
Please pray for me. God love you and keep you,