Obituary of Mgr Michael Kirkham 1927/2017

Born: 6 February 1927, in Cleveleys, Lancashire. Died: 21 September, 2017, in Blackpool, aged 90

Obituary by
Rt. Rev Michael G Campbell OSA, Bishop of Lancaster

Monsignor Michael John Kirkham died in the early hours of Thursday 21 September 2017 in Blackpool Victoria Hospital. May he rest in the peace of the risen Lord.

Michael Kirkham was born on 6 February 1927 in Cleveleys, Lancashire. He was educated at St Mary’s School, Fleetwood, St Joseph’s College, Blackpool and then Upholland College before being sent to the Venerable English College, Rome. Eventually he was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood at the Chiesa Nuova, Rome on 20 December 1952.

The newly-ordained Father Kirkham was appointed as Assistant Priest to St Gregory’s, Preston (August 1953 – August 1959) and then to St Ignatius’, Preston (August 1959 - July 1961) and to St Cuthbert’s, Blackpool (July 1961 – January 1966). During this time he was also involved in the Diocesan Tribunal as a notary and then as an Advocate (1955 – 1966.) After St Cuthbert’s, Blackpool he was appointed to the Catholic Missionary Society (January 1966 – September 1973) and from this team he went to Oscott College as Pastoral Director (September 1973 – July 1976). He then returned to Preston as Assistant Priest at St Joseph’s (September 1976 – August 1977).

Father Kirkham was then appointed Parish Priest of St Ignatius, Preston (August 1977 – September 1980) before being appointed to Ushaw College as Spiritual Director (September 1980 – June 1984). He returned to Oscott College, this time as Rector (May 1984 – June 1989). In January 1990, he was appointed as Parish Priest of St Mary’s, Great Eccleston and remained there until his retirement from parish ministry in September 2002. From 2001 he served as Episcopal Vicar for Religious for the South of the Diocese until 2009. Earlier this year he had moved from his own flat to reside very happily at Stella Matutina.

My deepest condolences go to Monsignor Kirkham’s family, especially to his nephews and nieces and indeed all who have lost a dear friend, brother priest and former Parish Priest. Our thanks and prayers, too, for all at Stella Matutina.

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