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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 17th November 2019 Posted on Sunday 17 November 2019

Rest In Peace Mgr Cookson
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Monsignor Provost Peter Cookson, who died on Friday 8th November. He was 80 years of age and was in the 57th year of his priesthood.

Reception of the Body (No Mass): Sunday 24th November at 5.00pm
Requiem Mass Monday 25th November at 11.00am
Both services in the Cathedral.

Peter Michael Cookson was born in Liverpool on 16th July 1939, the son of Robert and Nellie Cookson. He received his early education at St Edward’s College, Liverpool, and St Cuthbert’s College, Ushaw. He remained at Ushaw for his studies in philosophy, but then transferred to the Venerable English College in Rome for this theological studies. He was ordained priest in Rome on 27th October 1963.

The first five years of his priestly ministry were taken up with the completion of further studies to equip him for the teaching role that he was to assume at Ushaw. Studying at both the Gregorian University and the Biblical Commission in Rome he pursued the studies that would lead to a doctorate in dogmatic theology and a licentiate in Sacred Scripture. He had hoped to spend some time in Jerusalem as part of his course, but the political situation in 1967 meant that he chose instead to spend time at the University of Würzburg in Germany and with it the opportunity to study under Professor Rudolf Schnackenburg.

At the end of January 1969 he was able to write to Archbishop Beck, “I am very happy to have all these examinations behind me, and am now back at Ushaw, busily teaching Old Testament theology and preparing two New T estament courses for the second semester.”

He continued happily in his teaching role until May 1977 when he was appointed President of the College, assuming the challenging leadership role fairly soon after the amalgamation of the senior seminary with that of Upholland.

The following December he was named as a Prelate of Honour by Pope Paul VI. He was only able to continue teaching Scripture for one more year before the demands of his role of President took him away from the joy of enlightening his students from his great knowledge of the Scriptures. He was famous for turning his hand to whatever was needed, so that he could just as easily be seen atop a tractor as in the chapel or in the precincts of the college.

When his term of office as President came to an end in 1984 he took a sabbatical before succeeding Monsignor Charles Jackson as parish priest of St Mary’s, Chorley, and dean of Chorley. During his four years at St Mary’s (1985-89) he oversaw major building work on the site adjoining the church. A new presbytery, some sheltered accommodation and a new parish club were all constructed during his tenure. He is remembered with great affection and respect by the people of Chorley.
(To be continued next week).