Canon David Mahy gave the homily at the Requiem Mass for Fr. Roy Bennett, which was held at Immaculate Conception Church, Portswood, last Thursday 6th October. Canon David spoke warmly of Fr Roy as a very fine priest. Click on the picture to watch the Requiem Mass
Well, we know how old our brother was and he is destined for eternal life. There are not enough people in this world who get paid for doing what they enjoy. A priest who responds generously to his vocation is in that happy position. But he’d only be happy if his life is full of sacrifices and we know that Roy made a lot of sacrifices, but that they were made out of love. He trained for the priesthood at St Mary’s College Oscott and was ordained in the English Martyrs parish Reading by Archbishop John Henry King on 16th March 1957. He was an assistant priest at St Joseph’s Havant from 57 to 65, at St Mary’s Ryde from 65-66 and St Peter’s Winchester from 66-69. That meant a lot to me because he joined me, and we were, for a couple of years, together as assistant priests at Winchester. He went on to serve at Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Fareham which happens to be the church where I was baptised. He was, when he came to Southampton, full time Hospital Chaplain and Co-ordinating Chaplain of the Southampton Hospitals from 1989-2001. And, during that period, he was also Chaplain to the Monastery of the Poor Clares in Southampton.
Well, I say, there are not enough people in this world who get paid for doing what they enjoy. A priest who responds generously to his vocation is in that happy position. But he’d only be happy if his life with Christ has the element of sacrifice and we heard about that in the gospel reading. Celibacy is part of that sacrifice and so is the availability to the people that we serve. Like St Paul in the Act of the Apostles the priest has to be ready to be on call constantly and that was certainly true of Roy. It’s not easy for a priest to be consistently on call. The sound of the doorbell, the telephone and actually, in the Presbytery at Winchester, the fact that dog which belonged to the archbishop would bark every time the front doorbell rang and all that time even when the telephone rang. For Fr Roy, his enthusiasm for postage stamps is well known and I think the thing that kept us tied together when I was away in Jersey for 26 years was the fact that I was able to send him an untold number of postage stamps from the Channel Islands.
It has been a great privilege for me to have the opportunity to share my memory, for everyone here has memories of a very good priest, a very fine priest. May God bless him and reward him every day of his eternal life.