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Much travelled priest becomes top Catholic Army chaplain

Fr Francis with Bishop Moth

Fr Francis with Bishop Moth

Fr Francis Barber has been appointed as Vicar General (Army) to the Bishopric of the Forces, and as Principal Roman Catholic Chaplain (Army). He was installed in his new post by Bishop Richard Moth, Bishop of the Forces during a Mass at the Bishopric Cathedral in Aldershot which was attended by twenty Chaplains as well as family and friends of Fr Francis.

Fr Francis was born in Manchester in 1961.  He was educated by the Salesian Fathers at Thornleigh Salesian College in Bolton and trained for priesthood at Valladolid for the Diocese of Salford.

He was ordained in 1987 and after working in parishes and Chaplaincy in Manchester, Salford and Oldham and also as a Territorial Army Chaplain, he joined the Royal Army Chaplains Department as a regular chaplain in 1993.

He has served in Cyprus, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Germany, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan as well as home postings.  Whilst serving in Northern Ireland he dealt with the Omagh Bombing for which he was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.

Fr Francis enjoys trekking, travel and sailing.  His main passions are Land Rover and his small-holding on the North Yorkshire moors.

The Catholic Bishopric of the Forces is a non territorial diocese for the United Kingdom armed forces.  Chaplains are seconded from dioceses and religious orders from the UK, Ireland, Gibraltar and South Africa. Currently three Chaplains are serving in Afghanistan.