Priests from all over the county and closer to home came to mark a golden birthday year for a popular Sleaford ‘man of the cloth’.
Canon Michael John Bell celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the Catholic priesthood earlier this month with a special celebration from his fellow priests and members of his congregation.
At the celebration of Father Michael’s landmark year, the Catholic Church in Jermyn Street was filled with relatives, friends and parishioners of his past and present parishes who attended a special celebratory Mass, where the principal celebrant was the Vicar General of Nottingham Diocese, Monsignor Thomas McGovern.
Also present was the Dean of Nottingham St Barnabas Cathedral, Father Geoffrey Hunton, and priests from Skegness, Grantham, Oakham, Holbeach, and friends from the Westminster diocese.
After the Mass, all the parishioners and priests enjoyed a buffet lunch, after which Father Michael was presented with a gift of an iPad and a cheque for the remainder of the donations made by parishioners.
Father Michael was ordained on June 8, 1963, and he has served as curate in a number of parishes in Nottingham diocese, and was appointed parish priest first at Grantham from 1980 to 1990, then at Whitwick between 1990 to 2001 and arrived in Sleaford in 2001 where he has been ever since.