Obituary: Right Reverend Monsignor Joseph Leo Alston

 Joseph Leo Alston was born in Chorley on 17 December 1917, the son of Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Alston. He attended St Mary's RC Elementary School in Devonshire Road, Chorley before moving at the age of 12 to study for the priesthood at St Joseph's College, Upholland, where he rapidly earned a reputation for hard work and set a pace for his fellow students. In 1935 he went to continue his studies at the Venerable English College, Rome, gaining a Licentiate of Philosophy (PhL) in 1938. He was forced to return to England following the outbreak of the Second World War and continued his studies at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire where he gained the Licentiate of Sacred Theology (STL) in 1942. He was ordained to the priesthood at Stonyhurst on 8 February 1942. In October 1942 he went to read Classics at Cambridge University; while there he was elected Scholar of Christ's College in 1944 and gained a First Class Degree in Classics in 1945. The same year he returned to the Archdiocese of Liverpool to teach Classics at St Joseph's College, Upholland, where he became Headmaster in 1952. He had a reputation for being kind, patient and paternal with the students and was feared by none but respected by all. In 1963 he was appointed as Rector of the Venerable English College, Rome and created a Domestic Prelate with the title Right Reverend Monsignor. He took up his post in 1964 and in March 1966 he hosted the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Michael Ramsey, during his historic visit to meet Pope Paul VI at the Vatican. In February 1972 he returned to England to become Parish Priest of Sacred Heart, Ainsdale. During his time there he served as Dean of Southport for ten years; as Chairman of the Archdiocesan Ecumenism Commission for ten years; as a member of the Executive Committee of the Southport Council of Churches; as the Chairman of Governors of Christ the King School for ten years; and as Chaplain to the Southport Council of the Knights of St Columba. He retired in 1997 and continued to live in the Southport area. He died peacefully on the morning of Wednesday 27 September 2006. May he rest in peace. Throughout his life Monsignor Alston was always a proud Chorley man, and his sister Kathleen and other relatives still live in the locality. Another sister, Margaret, lives near Edinburgh and his younger brother, Arthur, lives in California. Another sister, Mary, died four years ago. His body will be received into St Marie's church, Southport, at 7.00 pm this evening, when a Vigil Mass will be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, the Right reverend Vincent Malone. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated by the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, in St Mary's church, Chorley, at 11am tomorrow, prior to burial at St Gregory's, Weld Bank, Chorley. Source: Archdiocese of Liverpool

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