We are always delighted to welcome Fr Michael Coughlan as a regular visitor to St Mary's. Fr Michael often leads staff prayer, as well as taking part in college liturgies.
He was born in Manchester in 1981, attending Holy Family Primary School, Sale Moor, followed by Blessed Thomas Holford High School in Altrincham.
He went to Loreto Sixth Form College, Manchester, before studying Pharmacology at the University of Liverpool.
After deciding a career in Pharmacology was not for him, he applied to be a youth worker at Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire, a large Benedictine monastery which has attached to it an independent Catholic boarding school, Ampleforth College.
Fr Michael then continued youth work at Castlerigg Manor near Keswick in the Lake District, a residential Catholic youth retreat centre.
He remembers this as a great time in his life, living among the stunning scenery of the Lake District.
He said: 'I especially enjoyed being able to help young people discover something of the beauty of their faith and how it could change their lives and the world around them.'
It was during this time that he says he felt God was calling him, even though he did not fully recognise it at first.
After two years at Castlerigg, he was accepted as a seminarian at the Royal English College in Valladolid, Spain.
The 'interesting' year Fr Michael spent in the sundrenched city of Valladolid was very different culturally from that of England, or in fact, rainy Manchester where he grew up.
He said: 'Spain had a very different pace of life - for instance, when realising at 9am that I had run out of paper, I dashed over to the stationery shop across the road before the 9.15am lecture only to find it didn’t open until 10am!'
After a year there, he transferred for the remaining eight years of his training for the priesthood to the Venerable English College, Rome, where he specialised in Biblical Theology.
He said: 'Rome was a fantastic experience. Studying in a different language with lots of people from across the world in such a beautiful city was an unrepeatable experience in more ways than one!'
He was ordained in July 2013 at Our Lady and the Apostles, Stockport, before assisting Canon Phil Moor in running the parish of Holy Apostles and Martyrs, Wallasey Village.
Report by Elaine Webster
2 February 2015
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