It is with great sadness that the Diocese of Leeds announces the death of Fr Geoffrey Parfitt in the early hours of Saturday 19 December. His death occurred at Threshfield Court Care Home near Grassington, to where he had recently moved from his home at The Manse, Broughton Hall.
Fr Parfitt was ordained in 1968 and prior to his retirement he had been Parish Priest of the Sacred Heart at Broughton, near Skipton for many years.
The Funeral Mass for Fr Parfitt will take place at 11am on Wednesday, 13th January 2021 at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart at Broughton Hall, Skipton, and will be followed by interment at 12.15pm in the Cemetery at St Stephen’s Catholic Church, Skipton.
In the context of the current Covid-19 regulations the Chapel at Broughton Hall can safely accommodate twenty people which means numbers are limited and attendance at the Mass will be by invitation only.
Please pray for the repose of Fr Geoffrey’s soul and for his family and friends at this time.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
Fr Geoffrey Parfitt RIP
Fr Geoffrey Parfitt was born on 23 May 1937. He studied for the priesthood at the Pontifical Beda College in Rome and was ordained on 20 April 1968 at St Mary’s Church, Horsforth.
From 1968-73 Fr Parfitt served as Assistant Priest at St Mary’s parish in Halifax. From there he moved to the English Martyrs parish at Lupset, Wakefield. In 1975 Bishop Wheeler appointed him to the staff of St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds, as Master of Ceremonies with responsibility for the Cathedral’s liturgies. He had a reputation as a hard taskmaster but the result was that things went like clockwork on the sanctuary. Indeed, when Bishop Wheeler died in 1998 one of his obituaries noted that during this period the Cathedral became ‘a sort of liturgical showpiece’ which demonstrated that the post-Vatican II liturgy was ‘not incompatible with beauty and solemnity’.
In 1982 Fr Parfitt was appointed as Parish Priest of the Sacred Heart at Thornton, near Bradford and six years later he moved to the parish of the Sacred Heart at Broughton, in the Craven district of North Yorkshire. The parish included the St Patrick’s Chapel at Earby and the Oratory in Gargrave. His parish church was the Chapel of the Sacred Heart attached to Broughton Hall, home of the Tempest family since the mid-fifteenth century and one of England’s great Recusant houses. He was to remain here for the rest of his life.
From his base at Broughton, Fr Parfitt became a great proponent of the Tridentine Mass and of the Latin Mass Society both in the Leeds diocese and further afield. His love of the Mass was always prayerful and without fuss, pomp or ostentation and he is fondly remembered by the Society’s membership. In recent times he continued to celebrate daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Broughton, with Sung Mass on the first Sunday of every month.
Fr Parfitt retired from active ministry in 2012 and continued to live at the Manse at Broughton. In late 2020 a fall at home led to a period in hospital from where he transferred to Threshfield Court Care Home near Grassington. It was here that he died in the early hours of Saturday 19 December, aged eighty-three.
A man who enjoyed his own company with his sheep dog Bobby, Fr Parfitt was fond of hill walking and the walls of his sitting room were decorated with landscapes of hills and mountains. A singular man, Fr Parfitt made a singular contribution to the life of the Diocese of Leeds during the more than fifty years of his priesthood, and above all to its traditions of liturgy and worship.
May he rest in peace.