REV FR MICHAEL CRONIN

 
 

Father Michael Cronin was born in Rathmore, County Kerry, Ireland, on 11th April 1920. He was educated in Ireland at St. Brendan's Seminary, Killarney, and continued his studies for the priesthood at St. Peter's College, Wexford. He was ordained there on 8th June 1947.

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After spending two years in the Welsh Parish of St. Alban's, Pontypool, Father Cronin came to Wigan in 1949, as assistant priest to Father Shee at St. Joseph's Church in Caroline Street.

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He remained there for twelve years, and established a wonderful rapport with his fellow priests and the parishioners. Working in this busy parish, he made numerous lifelong friends through his active involvement with families, the schools and parish organisations. He worked with all the groups and sodalities, including the Y.C.W. and the C.Y.M.S.. Also, as Chaplain to St. Joseph's Operatic Society, his encouragement inspired the members to achieve great success.

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In 1961, he left St. Joseph's to go to the Sacred Heart Parish in Leigh, where he spent two years. From there he went to St. Mary's in Douglas, Isle of Man, until 1966, when he was transferred to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Liverpool, where he remained for six years.

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In August 1972, the people of Wigan were overjoyed to welcome Fr. Cronin's return as Parish Priest at St. Aidan's in Winstanley, the new church close to the boundaries of St. Joseph's parish. There he renewed many old friendships. When, in 1976, he was appointed Parish Priest at St. Jude's, he was back on even more familiar ground. This larger parish, which had replaced St. Joseph's, still held many of the old families alongside the new ones. He gathered his new parish around him, happy to be among the friends with whom he had worked and prayed in earlier times.

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Behind the smiling, twinkling eyes, and the often impish look, Father Cronin was a man of the people, who served his flock with wisdom and gentleness. His relaxed approach to life belied the discipline and loving humility with which he approached his priestly duties. When dealing with serious matters, he had the knack of saying the unexpected in a way that never offended but somehow put all problems in the right perspective.

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It was to his own great personal sorrow and the dismay of his parishioners that in July 1984, because of ill health, he retired to Ireland. However, his leaving did not sever his ties with the people of the parish with whom the close bonds were never broken. Throughout his retirement he was in touch with the parish and had regular visits from his numerous friends from Wigan. On Monday, 5th August 1996, just two days before his death, he celebrated a special Mass for a group of  St.Jude's parishioners who had called to see him during a visit to Ireland.

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This very special priest certainly touched the hearts of all who knew him and at St. Jude's will always be remembered.

 

 

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