THE Guild of Our Lady of Ransom, which provides funds for poor country parishes, will employ a full-time assistant priest to the Guild master, Mgr. Laurence Goulder, on Monday.
He is Fr. Anthony Stark, O.S.C., parish priest for the past two years at Our Lady of Sorrows, Paddington.
In its annual report published last week the Guild declared that it distributed £13,550 last year, £1,000 more than the year before. The funds went to more than 80 travelling missions and parishes in sparsely populated rural areas, many of which would otherwise be unable to survive.
Founded in 1887, the Guild now has 42,000 members. Its three aims are the conversion of England and Wales to the preReformation faith, the return of lapsed Catholics and the promotion of prayers for the forgotten dead.
It organises educational pilgrimages to places of Catholic historical interest throughout England and Wales. Next month Mgr. Goulder and Fr. Stark will lead the annual pilgrimage of 30 men from London to the shrine of our Lady at Walsingham.
Fr. Stark's job at the Guild will be to join Mgr. Goulder in travelling about the country making appeals for funds at large city parishes.
Members of his own parish and of the neighbouring St. Mary Magdalen Church of England parish gave him a farewell party on Thursday evening.
The two congregations have worked together closely, holding joint fund-raising projects and social gatherings.
In his parish magazine the Anglican vicar, the Rev. Michael Stephenson, wrote : "I have never before seen such a happy relationship between two congregations of different denominations." Fr. Stark's promotion, he added, would be "a loss to both our parishes".