Canon’s had a ball for 50 ‘joyful’ years

Father Hugh White, Rosewell
Father Hugh White, Rosewell
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Canon Hugh White, 73, Roman Catholic priest in Bonnyrigg, Rosewell and Gorebridge, has celebrated 50 years in the ministry.

Born into a religious family and attending St Mary’s Catholic School in Bathgate, he was intent on becoming a priest and wanted to be a part of the church from early on in his life.

He said: “It was the only option for me. It was all I wanted to do.”

To reach his goal, he attended Drygrange Seminary in the Borders to study philosophy. Following that, he moved to Rome to study at the Pontifical Gregorian University to read biblical studies.

He was ordained at St Mary’s Church in Bathgate on July 21, 1963, and has since had a distinguished career around the world, serving the Catholic Church.

His first job after completing his studies was in Rosewell from 1965-67, before he was offered a place teaching at Drygrange Seminary. He spent 12 years there teaching scripture studies.

Whilst there, he visited Lourdes with medical students to help treat, lift and carry wounded individuals.

Speaking of that journey, he said: “It was a very rewarding experience. It was a different way to look at it when I wasn’t seeing it as a priest, but as a worker.”

In the mid-1980s he was appointed chaplain of London University, where he stayed for three-and-a-half years before returning to Midlothian to take charge of the parish at Loanhead, where he served for seven years.

It was at this point in his career he moved to the United States, spending ten months working on a mission to help develop lay participation in the church.

His mission was fulfilled in New Orleans, at the Loyola Institute for Ministry.

He was instrumental in bringing the Limex programme to Scotland. The Limex programme is an initiative by the Loyola University to help trainees study at the university from afar.

The connection established has since spread to Glasgow, Newcastle and Geneva, and more than 100 lay people from Midlothian alone have taken part in the programme.

To mark the 50th anniversary of his ordination, Canon White concelebrated Mass of thanksgiving at St Matthew’s Church Rosewell.

He said: “I have been very proud of everything I have achieved over my time with the church.

“I don’t have one career highlight, but I have been very happy with everything I have done.”

A party organised by his parishioners for the occasion included a variety concert attended by 300 people.

Canon White, who intends to continue in his role for the foreseeable future, said: “It has been very joyful. I have had my fair share of pain and sorrow, but if I could start over I would do it all over again.”