- Site Index
- About Me
- Book List & Themes
- Strictly for Adults Novels >
Tales from Portlaw
- No Need to Look for Love
- 'The Love Quartet' >
The Priest's Calling Card
- Chapter One - The Irish Custom
- Chapter Two - Patrick Duffy's Family Background
- Chapter Three - Patrick Duffy Junior's Vocation to Priesthood
- Chapter Four - The first years of the priesthood
- Chapter Five - Father Patrick Duffy in Seattle
- Chapter Six - Father Patrick Duffy, Portlaw Priest
- Chapter Seven - Patrick Duffy Priest Power
- Chapter Eight - Patrick Duffy Groundless Gossip
- Chapter Nine - Monsignor Duffy of Portlaw
- Chapter Ten - The Portlaw Inheritance of Patrick Duffy
- Bigger and Better >
- The Oldest Woman in the World >
Sean and Sarah
- Chapter 1 - 'Return of the Prodigal Son'
- Chapter 2 - 'The early years of sweet innocence in Portlaw'
- Chapter 3 - 'The Separation'
- Chapter 4 - 'Separation and Betrayal'
- Chapter 5 - 'Portlaw to Manchester'
- Chapter 6 - 'Salford Choices'
- Chapter 7 - 'Life inside Prison'
- Chapter 8 - 'The Aylesbury Pilgrimage'
- Chapter 9 - Sean's interest in stone masonary'
- Chapter 10 - 'Sean's and Tony's Partnership'
- Chapter 11 - 'Return of the Prodigal Son'
- The Alternative Christmas Party >
The Life of Liam Lafferty
- Chapter One: ' Liam Lafferty is born'
- Chapter Two : 'The Baptism of Liam Lafferty'
- Chapter Three: 'The early years of Liam Lafferty'
- Chapter Four : Early Manhood
- Chapter Five : Ned's Secret Past
- Chapter Six : Courtship and Marriage
- Chapter Seven : Liam and Trish marry
- Chapter Eight : Farley meets Ned
- Chapter Nine : 'Ned comes clean to Farley'
- Chapter Ten : Tragedy hits the family
- Chapter Eleven : The future is brighter
The life and times of Joe Walsh
- Chapter One : 'The marriage of Margaret Mawd and Thomas Walsh’
- Chapter Two 'The birth of Joe Walsh'
- Chapter Three 'Marriage breakup and betrayal'
- Chapter Four: ' The Walsh family breakup'
- Chapter Five : ' Liverpool Lodgings'
- Chapter Six: ' Settled times are established and tested'
- Chapter Seven : 'Haworth is heaven is a place on earth'
- Chapter Eight: 'Coming out'
- Chapter Nine: Portlaw revenge
- Chapter Ten: ' The murder trial of Paddy Groggy'
- Chapter Eleven: 'New beginnings'
The Woman Who Hated Christmas
- Chapter One: 'The Christmas Enigma'
- Chapter Two: ' The Breakup of Beth's Family''
- Chapter Three: From Teenager to Adulthood.'
- Chapter Four: 'The Mills of West Yorkshire.'
- Chapter Five: 'Harrison Garner Showdown.'
- Chapter Six : 'The Christmas Dance'
- Chapter Seven : 'The ballot for Shop Steward.'
- Chapter Eight: ' Leaving the Mill'
- Chapter Ten: ' Beth buries her Ghosts'
- Chapter Eleven: Beth and Dermot start off married life in Galway.
- Chapter Twelve: The Twin Tragedy of Christmas, 1992.'
- Chapter Thirteen: 'The Christmas star returns'
- Chapter Fourteen: ' Beth's future in Portlaw'
The Last Dance
- Chapter One - ‘Nancy Swales becomes the Widow Swales’
- Chapter Two ‘The secret night life of Widow Swales’
- Chapter Three ‘Meeting Richard again’
- Chapter Four ‘Clancy’s Ballroom: March 1961’
- Chapter Five ‘The All Ireland Dancing Rounds’
- Chapter Six ‘James Mountford’
- Chapter Seven ‘The All Ireland Ballroom Latin American Dance Final.’
- Chapter Eight ‘The Final Arrives’
- Chapter Nine: 'Beth in Manchester.'
- 'Two Sisters' >
- Fourteen Days >
Thoughts and Musings
- Bereavement >
- Nature >
Bill's Personal Development
- What I'd like to be remembered for
- Second Chances
- Holidays of Old
- Memorable Moments of Mine
- Cleckheaton Consecration
- Canadian Loves
- Mum's Wisdom
- 'Early life at my Grandparents'
- Family Holidays
- 'Mother /Child Bond'
- Childhood Pain
- The Death of Lady
- 'Soldiering On'
- 'Romantic Holidays'
- 'On the roof'
- 'Family Tree'
- 'Growing up with grandparents'
- The importance of poise
- Love & Romance >
- Christian Thoughts, Acts and Words >
- Miscellaneous >
- My Wedding
- Audio Downloads
- Bill's Blog
- Contact Me
Chapter Six: 'Father Patrick Duffy, Portlaw Priest'
Within two months of Father Patrick leaving Seattle, the congregation of over 2,000 had dwindled to 87 and the church takings in the weekly collection wasn’t enough to cover the expenses of a part-time pastor. Within a further two years, the church had been closed down and was shortly after gutted and the land sold off! It also transpired that during his time in the Washington parish, the Bishop of the Diocese had received many written complaints from disgruntled husbands of numerous female church attendees. Because there was no concrete proof, the Bishop of the Diocese decided that all allegations made or inferred against Father Patrick Duffy were groundless and that they represented no more than the sour grapes of men who'd found themselves no longer able to content their Catholic wives now that all their children had been born and had grown up and left home.
As the Parish of Portlaw was also on the slide and the weekly attendance at church had drastically declined since 'The Tannery' had closed some six months earlier, it made good sense to employ Father Patrick Duffy’s unique skills there now. Besides, the church hierarchy was aware of the past heartache that had been produced for Father Duffy through his enforced absence from his parents' funerals and the Emerald Isle.
Father Patrick was 35 years old when he returned to Portlaw to take over his duties as parish priest. Eighteen years had passed since the young Patrick Duffy had left the town to train as a Catholic priest. In the meantime, every one of his seventeen sisters had married and settled in different parts of the world outside Ireland and all contact had gradually diminished many years ago. He was every bit as handsome a man as he'd been when he last left Portlaw at the age of 17 years, but was now more seasoned and rugged looking. He entered his hometown dressed in civilian clothes and his first task was to visit his parents' graves to pay his respect.
Father Patrick came back to Portlaw ‘under a cloud,’ and as it had been eighteen years since anyone had seen him there, he decided initially not to disclose his true identity or previous connection with the parish. He did not want any special consideration given to him over that of any other new priest entering the parish. Father Patrick knew that prophets are rarely made welcome in their own land and that if the citizens of Portlaw believed him to be a true newcomer to their parish, he’d probably be accepted all the quicker and be able to build up the church attendance figures much sooner. After placing a bunch of forget-me-nots on his parents' grave, he entered his church and climbed up to the belfry tower to look out over Portlaw and the fields around that he knew so well and had played in as a child.
Having been without a parish priest for two months, the people of Portlaw who'd had to share with the curate from the Parish of Bally Duff, were pleased to meet their new minister. The last priest had died in post and had been 74 years old. Now they had a 35-year-old priest that would be with them hopefully for many years to come. He was young, muscular in build and obviously very fit with all of the interests and physical activities he remained involved in, like amateur boxing and a spot of weight lifting. When however, one of the parishioners who was visiting her mother's grave first saw the priest doing some labouring in the church grounds without his shirt on, she rushed home to tell her neighbours what she'd seen. "There he was as bold as brass, parading that muscular body of his. I tell you, he looked a cracker without that collar around his manly neck or a shirt upon his back. What a cracker we've got for a parish priest. What a cracker!"
When the people of Portlaw heard the priest preach from the pulpit during his very first sermon in the town, all felt that they had been well provided for by the Catholic Church. Father Patrick Duffy was clearly of Irish descent as both his name and his accent declared. His extensive knowledge on secular matters told the elders in the congregation that he wasn’t one of those young priests who wanted to come across all ‘happy clappy’, and start changing established town ways and customs. He was simply a priest who appealed to both young and old in equal measure.
The young people of the parish liked him because he didn’t preach to them against their youth or come across old and stuffy. Also, built like an athlete, Father Patrick loved sport and all manner of physical activities. To see him out of his cassock, like when he decided to start a boxing club for the young hot heads, truly showed his congregation the fine specimen of manhood that their priest was. He had the muscle of a wrestler in his prime and the bulk in body of a Sherman Tank. The infirm liked the priest because of his regular commitment to visit them in their home, and while he would do whatever he could to help them, the priest would refuse to do for them anything that they were capable of doing for themselves. Father Duffy abhorred the promotion of dependency.
It was with no great surprise that all the women folk of Portlaw were instantly taken and attracted to this handsome priest by his sheer size and fitness of body; a servant of God who was blessed to have been adorned with a face as beautiful as had ever been seen on a man’s shoulders. Just to look on him made most of the 20 to 40-year-old women of Portlaw go weak at the knees. To hear him speak would send the young girls from thirteen to seventeen years into a frenzied state that was more usually reserved for pop stars. As the young girls with a crush on their priest listened to him, they would hang on his every word and drool over any unintended double meaning that they could derive from it. And for a good dozen much needier women, they would have gone to any lengths to defrock this Adonis. These desperate women would have signed a Faustian pact with the Devil and gone to hell in a handcart in exchange of one night alone with him!
Being the instant success described, overnight his congregation mushroomed. Month upon month, attendance at Sunday Mass and Confessions grew enormously. Within the space of six months, two Catholic Churches within a five-mile radius of Portlaw and two non-Catholic places of worship closed through lack of attendance when their congregations suddenly heard about the new Portlaw Catholic priest who’d managed to light a spark of religious fervour inside the hearts of any parishioner who came across him.