Former parish priest of St Marie's, Standish, Father Joseph Mercer died on Saturday 19 March, the feast of Saint Joseph, at the age of 91 and in his 63rd year of priesthood.
Joseph William Mercer was born on 27 May 1924, the son of Joseph and Margaret Mercer. He attended Our Lady of Compassion School, Formby, and St Mary's College, Crosby, followed by his studies for the priesthood at St Joseph's College, Upholland, during which time he served as a minor professor. He was ordained priest by Bishop Joseph Halsall, Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, in the Chapel of St Joseph's College on 30 May 1953.
Following ordination he had two short appointments as assistant priest firstly at St Joseph's, Grosvenor Street, Liverpool in August 1953 and then at Our Lady Immaculate, Liverpool in September 1956. In 1958 he returned to Upholland, taking up an appointment on the teaching staff of the school to teach science, particularly biology and chemistry. He also served as chaplain to the Carmelite monastery at Roby Mill from 1973 until his departure from Upholland in the summer of 1976.
He was next appointed assistant priest at St Edmund, Waterloo before, in March 1978, taking up what was to be his only appointment as parish priest – at St Marie's, Standish. Here he ministered faithfully for 21 years until his retirement to his native Formby in July 1999. He had remained active until relatively recently by supplying for various priests. His Funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Compassion, Formby on Wednesday 30 March.