Dear parishioners, dear friends
The word of God this Sunday suggests that if our lives are barren it can only mean that we have not allowed God’s word to take root in our hearts. Yet God never gives up on us. When we are gathered up into God’s loving arms we shall see and understand ourselves fully for All in the end is harvest.
On the afternoon of Friday 17 July Fr Freddie died peacefully in The Kensington Care Home, Ladbroke Road where he had been living these last weeks. At the beginning of the lock down Fr Freddie went for respite care to Nazareth House East Finchley. He had been living for many years with Parkinson’s. This year he received a diagnosis of cancer. He was so happy to be back in Kensington. He had served the parish for 20 years.
On Thursday 16 July Fr Freddie’s health took a sudden turn for the worse. I went to see him. I prayed with him and for him. He also received the Last Rites of the Church for his final journey home. Close family members were able to spend time with him. He died with Peter his brother by his bedside.
We have so much to be grateful for in Fr Freddie. I think of his preaching, kindness, learning, empathy and joie de vivre. A little sparkle has gone from our lives and the parish. He was in so many ways the hidden glue that helped to hold so much together.
It was while Fr Perry Sykes was Parish Priest of OLV that Fr Freddie learnt of his Parkinson’s. With Fr Perry’s support and God’s grace Fr Freddie found the courage to continue his priestly ministry. He was a man of great courage.
Fr Fred was born in Liverpool on 27 September 1943 and ordained to the priesthood in Westminster Cathedral on 28 June 1997 by Cardinal Basil Hume. He had served as an Anglican priest for many years before his reception into the Catholic Church. Sr Maureen, Fr Daniel and I wish to thank parishioners who gave so much of their love, support and company to Fr Fred. It meant so much to him. We will announce the funeral arrangements shortly. Our condolences and prayers are with his brother Peter, sister in law Joan, nephew Andrew and nieces Gemma and Joanne.
I want to leave the last word to Fr Freddie with words preached at a parishioner’s funeral:
“So farewell, but never goodbye. For God will gather us together again in the joy of His Kingdom.…God who understands and cherishes in a special way those who are fractured and broken by life. So thanks for this noble friend who so loved the Lord under the forms of bread and wine, and to whom in the stillness of His healing voice that same Lord must now be saying well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter the joy of thy Lord.”
May Frederick George Jackson, Christian, pilgrim and priest of the Most High God, rest in peace and rise in glory