Local Face: Father Jude Iroh MSP

Father Jude Iroh MSP is the new Parish Priest at St Anne’s Roman Catholic Church in Wendover. However, he is not new to Aylesbury Vale, as he has been Parish Priest at Our Lady of Lourdes, Bedgrove, since October 2012. St Anne’s RC Parish is no longer grouped with Immaculate Heart of Mary, Great Missenden, but now shares the Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, Bedgrove.

Father Jude is a priest of the Missionary Society of St Paul, an International Order. The priests of the Order serve in any part of the World where they are needed. They are in England, Wales and Scotland for the Mission. When he left school in Eastern Nigeria, he started studies in business accounting but soon went to train at the Missionary Seminary of St Paul in Abuja for his philosophical and theological studies. He has now been a priest for over 22 years.

His first Parish was in Nigeria, then he spent over 5 years in Cameroon, coming back for administrative work before going to Savannah, USA, briefly. None of this prepared him for his arrival in Slough just before Christmas 2009. It was the coldest winter for several years. He found this very exciting as the first snow fell at night and he was thrilled to go out and just feel the snow falling on him in the dark. He hadn’t seen snow before so next day he was able join in snow balling and other related activities for the first time. He discovered that snow brings out the child in us all!

Father Jude became a Priest because he felt a vocation to be a good neighbour. Initially this was a desire to fetch water for people who didn’t have enough to drink but slowly he realised that he didn’t just want to quench the bodily thirst of the needy, he wanted to give them Life in abundance. This meant being able to celebrate the Eucharist and enable Reconciliation for people with God and their neighbours.

When Father Jude came to Britain, the first thing he noticed was that he hardly saw people on the streets. This is because people tend to get about by car so they don’t interact so much. Father Jude has been impressed with the health care available in the UK and the welfare system which helps people who are unemployed to bridge the gap and prevent destitution.

He has found his congregations in Slough, High Wycombe and now Aylesbury to be very warm and friendly. He enjoys visiting people in their homes, helping them with their needs and bringing peace. Father Jude takes special care in promoting family life using FOCCUS, a method that encourages communication between spouses and builds healthy relationships.

Father Jude is excited to be working with the people of Wendover to build a warm and loving community. He is looking forward to his first Christmas with the new part of his Parish and to meeting fellow Christians through Churches Together in Wendover and elsewhere.