Fr Ian Wilfrid Mackenzie, Benedictine monk of Ampleforth Abbey who worked in Lancashire parishes for 45 years, has died at the age of 93. He died peacefully at Ampleforth Abbey in Yorkshire in the early hours of Wednesday 23 June. In accordance with the tradition at Ampleforth, his death was marked with the ringing of the death knell, ringing one toll for every year of his life - 93 years. Ian Mackenzie was born in Madras, India, in September 1911 and was educated at Ampleforth College. He joined the Benedictine Community at Ampleforth in 1930 and took the name Wilfrid. Three years later he was sent to St Benet's Hall in Oxford, where he studied Geography. Br Wilfrid, as he was then known, successfully completed studies in both Geography and Latin and was ordained priest in July 1939. Fr Wilfrid's life as a monk was spent working on the Ampleforth parish missions, with appointments in Cardiff, Workington, Warrington, Lostock Hall, Easingwold, and Brindle. In two periods stretching to almost 45 years in total, Fr Wilfrid lived and worked in three different parishes in the Preston area, all served by monks from Ampleforth Abbey: the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Gerard Majella in Lostock Hall (1956-1968), St Joseph's in Brindle (1979-1983), and St Mary's, Leyland, (1983-2002). Fr Wilfrid's work in Lancashire began in 1956 when he was appointed parish priest of the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Gerard Majella in Lostock Hall, Preston. The first part of that church had been built in 1912, but under Fr Wilfrid's direction the church was extended and the tower was added. In 1963, it was blessed by the then Abbot Basil Hume, who, as Cardinal, returned in 1996 to consecrate the re-ordered church. Fr Wilfrid's last appointment came at the age of 72, when he moved to St Mary's Leyland and worked there as assistant priest for almost twenty years until ill health forced him to return to Ampleforth Abbey at the start of 2003. Speaking of Fr Wilfrid's years on the parishes, the Abbot of Ampleforth, the Right Reverend Timothy Wright OSB, said: "For nearly sixty years, Fr Wilfrid spent his life serving people the length and breadth of the country, and people in the parishes where he worked still remember with great affection the dedicated service of this humble monk striving to bring them closer to God by word and example". The Funeral Mass will take place in the Abbey Church at Ampleforth on Monday 28 June at midday, followed by burial in the Monks Cemetery at Ampleforth.
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