Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Fr Peter Rogers RIP

Fr Peter Rogers 1924-2011 - May he rest in peace
Fr Robert Hamilton CJ preached at Fr Peter's Funeral and has offered his homily for our reflection:
"Bishop Kieran, brother priests and deacons, dear friends of Peter.
Here we are in the Cathedral where Peter served as Assistant priest for 10 years to carry our final act of love for him We want  to thank God for Peter's life and especially to comfort his family and all those who loved him dearly.

Peter was very much a family man and we want to console and comfort Ann his niece and all his family who are here to mourn him.

It is important to remember that Peter was already 37 years old before he went to the Beda in Rome to train for the priesthood by which time his views on life, his way of living were already formed and entrenched in him.

Peter was educated by the De la Salle Brothers in Beulah Hill. He always retained a strong affection for the brothers and was later to spend 4 happy years as their chaplain in their retirement community in Liss. While at Liss Peter underwent serious heart surgery and he was always grateful for the great care the Brothers took of him after his operation.

After leaving school Peter worked for the Ministry of Aircraft Production and retained a lifelong interest in the aircraft of the 1940's and 50's. After a spell at night school in order to pass exams in Latin. Peter studied at Southampton university and later trained as a school teacher. Peter enjoyed teaching and often talked with great affection about his first teaching post at St Aloysius Highgate where he taught English. After ordination in 1965 Peter returned to reaching and taught in the Diocesan boys' school, St Peter's in Guildford.

What attracted Peter to teaching was the order and discipline of the school time table. He especially enjoyed teaching English grammar. After leaving teaching, he sometimes found life as a Priest in a parish somewhat disorganized and this irked him at times. In very many ways, as many of you will know, Peter retained something of the schoolmaster in him to the end of his life.

In 1961, in his late 30’s Peter went to the Beda in Rome to train for the priesthood. He was there at the time of the Second Vatican Council. The 3 years he spent in Rome were a very happy time for him and he enjoyed all the gossip surrounding the Council. He was always a great supporter of the renewal set in place by the Vatican Council.

After leaving teaching at St Peter's in 1971 Peter spent most of the next 40 years working in various parishes in the diocese. He was a very conscientious Priest and sometimes drove himself too hard. The characteristic I remember most about him was the esteem he held for the women in the parishes he served in. He was always ready to empower them and get them involved the parish ministry. He valued their opinions and their advice and looked to them for feed back on parish affairs.

While here in Arundel he developed a very special affection for the Poor Clares in Cross Bush and for the Franciscan Sisters in Littlehampton. I know he would want me to thank them for the love, support and care they gave him. A special word of thanks must also go to Msgr Michael Jackson who was a great source of support, encouragement and advice for Peter in the last years of his ministry at St Joseph's in Littlehampton. It was Michael who administered the last rites Peter.

However the story of Peter’s life only takes on its true significance and importance in the context of God's plan of salvation as it is revealed to us in Sacred Scripture. In the 1st reading we heard from St Paul's letter to the Ephesians the Apostle teaches us that before the world began God chose us, chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless and to live through love in his presence. Peter, like all of us was chosen by God from all eternity, chosen to be an instrument of Christ's love, mercy and healing in our world. Like all of us his life was an important part of God's plan of salvation for all those he met and all those he loved.

Let me say at once that Peter had his faults and failings. He could be irritable and grumpy at times, especially if you rang him up on the telephone at the wrong hour. Peter would ask for forgiveness from anyone he might have hurt or offended during his life on earth. In spite of his faults and failings those who knew Peter well could not fail to experience the loving kindness of our God through their friendship with him.

In the Gospel reading on the Beatitudes we are presented with a profile of the holiness we are called to live. Peter did his best to live Beatitudes. If you read them carefully you will find something of Peter in them for he did his best to console, heal, forgive, support others with the same consolation, the same healing and the same forgiveness that he himself received from God.

Peter was ready for death. He had spoken about it recently and like the well organized man that he was he had already made a few preparations for it. God's plan of salvation for Peter has now been completed It is our firm conviction that Peter lives holy and spotless in eternal bliss with God and with his family who have gone before him.

It is with these thoughts that we comfort one another for as St Paul reminds us that we are not to mourn as the pagans do who have no hope.  It is with these thoughts that we comfort one another."

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