Fr George
Goodbye -- and Many Thanks

After 3 1/2 years, the Parish had to say a very sad 'Goodbye' to Father George (or, to give him his correct name, Fr Giorgios Ntagkas) at the end of October.

Father George wrote, when his departure was announced:

"When Cardinal Cormac asked me 4 years ago where he should appoint me next, I replied "I will go wherever you send me Father". He asked me the same thing three times and my answer was always the same. Eventually, he sent me to Chelsea. I couldn't have asked for more. The moral of the story is: Trust the Divine Providence who knows more than we do. Time flies; for me it has been a time full of new friends, new experiences and knowledge on how a vibrant Catholic parish operates. Time however does fly and I need now to look after my parents back in Greece, who are getting more and more fragile. Moreover, we all know that the people in my country have been having some serious financial and social problems lately. I don't feel comfortable being a spectator. I need to be there and help them in their need. Let us not forget that it is in hardship that people's hearts becomes more receptive to God's Word. All this is a challenge for me and I ask your prayers. Needless to say I will miss you."

A Farewell Party for Fr George was combined with the Welcome Back Sunday on September 25th and an earlier Dinner on September 23rd



Father Stuart said:   "Fr George has been a popular and well respected priest in our parish and the gap he will leave will be big. I suppose he won't mind my saying that he is so different that he could not be replaced. That mysterious Mediterranean look which he has now perfected with his flowing locks and beard together with his amazing voice captured our imagination. The children especially found him to be very special. Warm towards them, and enjoying their fun meant that they knew he cared. His love of music and films, fashion and sports attracted him to our teenagers and young adults. Italian speakers will miss him a lot- he became a wise confessor and friend to many. He has been a good friend to me in the house and especially when I have not been too well he has been careful to see that I didn't get over burdened. Always an excellent host – I shall miss his ability to mix a mean cocktail. This weekend we wish him well and remind ourselves that wherever we are we are together in Christ.

After his departure, Father George sent back the following message:

Ευχαριστώ πολύ

Dear Parishioners of St Mary's,

These last days have been incredibly emotional for me. A priest is a soldier of love, therefore he gets moved from time to time. I will never forget however your love and support over these three and a half years, which culminated over the last week. You have given me some unforgettable moments which I will treasure in my heart for ever. A massive eucharisto' for your gifts and offerings too, which I will need in this new stage of service. St Mary's community is so beautiful because of Fr Stuart and because of you. Keep up the good work. Let us stay united in prayer which brings people together no matter what the distance is. Lots of love,

God bless.
Fr George

To stay in touch with Fr. George, his address is:

                     The Catholic Church of St Therese, Eptanisou 32, 113 62, Athens, Greece.


WebMaster Note:       Father George before 3 1/2 years at St Mary's !






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