It is with sadness that we announce that Fr Bernard Battle, aged 97 years, died peacefully on Wednesday 22 December, at Claremont Nursing Home, Farsley. Please pray for the repose of his soul and for all those who now mourn for him.
Funeral Arrangements for Fr Bernard Battle.
Fr Bernard’s body will be received into the Cathedral on Monday 24 January at 7pm and followed by Mass. Requiem Mass for Fr Bernard will take place in the Cathedral on Tuesday 25 January at 11.30am, followed by interment at Killingbeck Cemetery.
Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
Fr Bernard Battle
Fr Bernard Battle was born on 30 March 1924. He studied for the priesthood at Ushaw College in County Durham and was ordained at St Anne’s Cathedral, Leeds on Low Sunday, 16 April 1950. Six other priests were ordained for the Diocese of Leeds on the same day and Fr Bernard was the last surviving member of that group. At the time of his death he was the oldest member of the Diocesan clergy, and its longest-serving.
In July 1950 Fr Battle was appointed to the parish of St Charles, Sheffield (now in the Hallam diocese). At the beginning of 1954 he moved to St Augustine’s, Leeds where he remained until September 1958 when he returned to South Yorkshire. From 1958 to 1963 he served in the parish of the Immaculate Conception, Rotherham and from 1963-65 at St Joseph’s, Sheffield. Since 1980 both these parishes have been part of the Diocese of Hallam.
In 1965 Fr Battle embarked on a period working as a missioner in Africa, returning to the Diocese in 1967 when he was appointed Parish Priest of St Joseph’s, Castleford. He left Castleford in 1978 to become Parish Priest of St Bernard’s, Halifax. He retired from St Bernard’s and from active ministry in 1988.
In retirement Fr Battle lived for several years in Ireland, at Claremorris in County Mayo. He returned to the Diocese in 2001, taking up residence at Hinsley Court in Headingley, Leeds, and he was living here at the time of his death.
The Celebration of Priesthood held at Leeds Cathedral in October 2021 gave thanks for Fr Bernard’s Platinum Jubilee of Ordination, which he had marked in April 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown. Sadly, he was not well enough to attend the Celebration. His death came a few weeks later, after a long period of ill health which he bore with great patience, sustained by his faith in the Lord. We pray that his earthly life of faith and priestly service will find its true reward in the life eternal.
May he rest in peace.