Father Victor Bridges who served as parish priest of Holy Angels, Kirkby for 23 years died on Wednesday 25 April aged 91 and in the 59th year of his priesthood.
Victor Bernard Bridges, the son of Joseph and Mary Bridges, was born on 16 February 1931 in Wexford. He was educated firstly by the Christian Brothers and then at St Peter’s College, Wexford. After leaving school he worked briefly at a draper’s shop in Wexford before applying to be accepted as a student for the priesthood. He was sent firstly to St Mary’s College, Aberystwyth, then run by the Carmelite Fathers to provide some formation for late vocations. Thereafter he was sent to the English College, Lisbon, where he was ordained in the college chapel on 8 June 1963.
Following ordination, he served in three parishes as assistant priest: St John, Wigan from 1963; Our Lady of Good Help, Wavertree from August 1967 and St Thomas of Canterbury, Windleshaw, St Helens from October 1973. Serving as an assistant priest in that era often meant serving with at least two other priests in a parish, though as he discovered there could be challenges. Writing to Archbishop Beck in June 1971 he observed that, ‘The Cenacle Convent is a haven of blessing…in view of the conditions here – no housekeeper or helper and the house permeated with a pungent odour, which could only be considered an “odour of sanctity” when they canonise cats.’
In January 1982, he took up his first and only appointment as parish priest, when he was assigned to Holy Angels, Kirkby. For 23 years he ministered faithfully to the community in the Westvale area of the town. He was known to enjoy travelling and on one occasion, whilst on a pilgrimage with other priests to the Holy Land, he encountered a group of ladies from his parish. A wag amongst the priests commented, ‘It comes to something when parishioners have to travel to the Holy Land to see their parish priest.’ Father Victor suffered a few periods of ill health during his ministry, and he retired from active ministry a few months before his 75th birthday in May 2005.
Father Victor enjoyed playing golf with some of the other priests of the archdiocese. He was known as a canny player who, though never improving his technique greatly, managed to make very good use of the handicap system.
May he rest in peace.
Father Victor’s body will be received into St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Kirkby, for Mass at 7.00 pm on Thursday 12th May when Bishop Tom Williams will be the celebrant. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated there by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon on Friday 13th May at 12.00 noon prior to burial at Allerton Cemetery.