As he ordained Andrew Neate to the priesthood on Saturday 19th September the Bishop of East Anglia, Alan Hopes, encouraged him to mould his life on the mystery of the Lord’s presence.
Fr Neate said: “I feel very lucky to be fit and active to take on further ministry as an ordained priest. So much of my past life has led me on to this. I greatly look forward to serving our Catholic parish in Fakenham.”
In his homily, Bishop Hopes said: “Jesus chooses men and sets them apart to share in His priesthood…He says to us very clearly, ‘You did not choose me; I chose you.’ So with you, Andrew. He has called you for His own purposes.”
Bishop Hopes emphasised the importance of the people of God in supporting a priestly ministry. “No priest could continue his ministry if it were not for the people of God…which supports a priest through times of discouragement.” He added: “The whole Church is wrapping you in a mantle of prayer.”
Andrew Neate has been serving as a permanent deacon in the parish of Cromer and Sheringham in Norfolk. He had left his banking career early and was able, when ordained in 1996, to offer a full-time commitment to the diaconate ministry.
Following a time in parish ministry in Huntingdon, he served for 17 years as a chaplain at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, being attached to Our Lady and the English Martyrs.
He was married for 50 years to Margaret and was widowed three years ago.
Bishop Hopes, after recognising his vocation to the priesthood, asked him to undertake some studies at Allen Hall to prepare for ordination. His late wife’s family are descended from St Thomas More, and as the Seminary is on the site of More’s Chelsea House, it was felt appropriate that he studied there.