There was only one thing that the parish was now lacking, at that was somewhere to hold social events. Dances and other events had been held in the upstairs room of the Eagle and Crown, but Father McGonagle felt that something better was needed.

So in 1983 he had a Church Hall built next to the presbytery, behind the Church. The estimated cost for the hall was about £60,000, in the event the hall cost around £90,000.

In 1982 Father Greenwood left and Father William Fitzgerald arrived as curate.

Canon McGonagle retired back to his native County Donegal in 1983, He died peacefully in the parochial house at Culdaff on 2nd September 1996.

Canon McGonagle was replaced as Parish Priest by Father Richard Dunphy. The final Curate, Father Fitzgerald, also left in 1983, leaving Father Dunphy to shoulder the responsibilities of the parish alone.

The lighting in the church was again upgraded (this time the original pendant lights were removed), the sanctuary light was replaced, the reredos was altered and the whole church was decorated.

St Joseph's Church Sanctuary in 1989

In 1992 Father Dunphy was replaced at Upton by Father Ivan Burke.

Father Ivan set about re-vitalising the parish community. He organised trips for the parishioners, started an annual |Passover meal and instigated a number of parish groups. He opened up the altar to the congregation by removing the altar rails and he had the knave carpeted.

It was on New Year's eve 1999 that Father Ivan learnt how seriously ill he was and he died on the morning of 14th February 2000, the day that his treatment was due to start. His Requiem Mass was celebrated at St Michael and All Angel's Church, Woodchurch and was concelebrated by Bishop Brian Noble (himself recovering from a serious illness) and most of the priests of the Diocese. He was later buried in Frankby Cemetery.

At the time of Father Ivan's death, a Missionary priest, Father Roger Clarke, had come to stay with Father Ivan for a short break from his work, but he arrived to find he had to take on the organisation of the funeral of a brother priest and to comfort the parishioners who were suffering from shock and grief.

St Joseph's first permanent Deacon, the Reverend Peter Jackson, was ordained in the Cathedral on 15th July 2000 and immediately set to work giving much needed support to Father Clarke

Peter and Alice Jackson Following his Ordination as Deacon

Father Clarke remained until the arrival of the Father Peter Robertson in September 2000.

Father Peter took a great interest in the youth of the parish. He started the parish Youth to Lourdes group. Each year a group travels to Lourdes where they give their time and energy to the sick as well as having a lively holiday. This same group assists with parish functions throughout the year.

The Interior of St Joseph's Church in 2003

Father Peter retired in September 2009 and Father Roger Clarke returned, this time as Parish Priest.

Can You Help?

Do you have any pictures of Upton, or of events in and around Upton either old or not so old?

Do you have any documents, newspaper cuttings or other information relating to Upton or the surrounding area?

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