To Present Day

In 1969 Bishop Wheeler had emphasised that it was up to the people of Tadcaster and their children to ''see that Christ and his Church are presented to the world in a true light''.  During the 1980s and 1990s the parishioners of St Joseph's did just that. A parish church which was outside of the town in 1869 was, a century later, firmly at the heart of Tadcaster. 

As early as 1968 Mr John Heneachon - a stalwart of the parish - was honoured by receiving the Maundy Money from Queen Elizabeth in Selby Abbey. This was due to his voluntary work in the parish but most of the parishoners will remember him as the man who kept St Joseph's furnace going single-handed through whatever cold weather winter could throw. In 1981 May Moverley was recognised by Tadcaster town council for her service to Roman Catholicism. 

There was a lot to be done in the parish in challenging times. Fr Collier, who included poems and gentle prayers in his newsletters, had noted "our parish fund raising drive needs a shot in the arm". It was increasingly difficult for the Carmelites effectively to administer Hazlewood and St Joseph's while continuing their spiritual work. Fr Simon White, effectively the PP in the late 1970s, did not lose his sense of humour. In 1979 he wrote to the Curia apologising for the late return of parish statistics - by then nearly a year late - promising to get the next set back in time as "the age of miracles is not over".

The Carmelites continued to lead the parish until 1980 when it simply became too much and was returned to the care of the secular clergy in the shape of Monsignor Ronchetti who had come from Sacred Heart Bingley.

Fig: Monsignor Ronchetti
Fig: Monsignor Ronchetti

Mgr Ronchetti recognised the task as a stiff one. He wrote to the Curia that "taking over from another and especially a monastery is not so easy as you know". Despite the extensive work done in the 1960s further renovations were urgently needed and the parish dug deep in its pockets. "Some poeple have been very generous in donations" wrote Mgr Ronchetti in asking that special collections authorised by the Diocese might be spaced out a little in order to ease the financial burdens on parishioners. Modernisations brought their own problems - a central heating bill of over £500 came as a shock in the winter quarter but Mgr Ronchetti noted in 1981 that "with this long drawn out winter it is difficult to do so much".

During 1982 Yorkshire received a special visitor - Pope John Paul came to York.

Fig: Pope John Paul at the Knavesmire, 1982
Fig: Pope John Paul at the Knavesmire, 1982

Many parishioners were fortunate enough to be among the 170000 at the Knavesmire and the parish of St Joseph's commemorated the event with several memorials. On March 11 1983 a new "peace bell" with a distinctive campanile was erected outside the church. The dramatic wooden structure cost £2500 and was designed in the shape of the official logo of the Papal visit - you can see the design (papal keys against a Union Jack) more clearly  in the corner of the Margaret Clitherow window. The Pope had commended the tradition of ringing the Angelus Bell and the then PP, Mgr Buckley, was determined to revive the tradition at St Joseph's. the bell is currently unringable but the "crown of thorns" design still provides a point of visual interest in the grounds,

The parish also erected on the right hand side of the wall a new stained glass window to commemorate the Papal visit to the Knavesmire. This cost £1050 and was made at Waugh's in York. It celebrates the life and martyrdom of Blessed Margaret Clitherow who had a srong conenction with Hazlewood. Not only is there a beautiful sculpture of Margaret Clitherow there but also a trio of bells. These were cast in 1450 in London and hung originally as part of a ring of 6 in the tower of Holy Trinity or Christ Church - then at the head of the Shambles in York. It is marvellous to think that Margaret Clitherow would have heard those very bells ring out and, in celebration of her life, they were moved to Hazlewood in 1976. The smallest bell - known as Margaret's bell - is inscribed sancta Margaret ora pro nobis while the largest - known as John's bell after her husband - is inscribed eternis annis resonet campana johannis.

More stained glass windows were added the church in the 1980's when a kind gesture by Florence Moverley then living in Shrewsbury allowed a new window celebrating the Holy Family to be installed on the left hand side of the church in celebration of the life of her sister, May, who died in 1982. 

Mgr. Buckley worked hard to increase the attendance of St Joseph's and was rewarded. He was a priest with many interests including media work and spiritual healing and his Mass homilies were well remembered and his witness attracted many -including Catholics and non Catholics. 

In 1990 Monsignor Murphy became parish priest after serving Christ for many years in a variety of ways within the diocese. During the 1990s the parish grew in energy and Christian witnesses. It was also lucky enough to hold witness to a second golden jubilee of ordination.