The Priest

Father John Cooke became our parish priest on November 28th 2014.

He was previously parish priest at St Alban's in Denaby Main.

Fr John's contact details can be found on the contact us page of this website.

A few words from Fr John about himself

For the first 18 years of my life I lived in the village of Whitwell in North East Derbyshire, where I was born in 1951. God blessed me with good parents, one older sister, one younger brother and a big extended family. Since 1975 I have lived in South Yorkshire, working for eighteen years as an Anglican parish priest at St Cecilia's, Parson Cross, Sheffield 1975-1978; St John & St Mary Magdalene's, Goldthorpe 1978-1982; and St John's, Balby, Doncaster 1982-1993. On 1st October 1993 I was received into the full Communion of the Catholic Church by Fr Gerry Harney at St Peter in Chains', Doncaster. After some years working for a Catholic charity and as a lay prison chaplain in Doncaster, I went to Ushaw seminary, Durham, being ordained priest by bishop John Rawsthorne in St Marie's Cathedral on St Patrick's day 2001. Bishop John appointed me assistant priest at the Annunciation, Chesterfield. In April 2002 the Bishop appointed me parish priest at St Alban's, Denaby Main, together with English Martyrs', Mexborough from January 2008. In November 2014, Bishop Ralph Heskett asked me to be parish priest at St William's Sheffield. I enjoy walking with my golden retriever, photographing her and our beautiful world, singing, reading, drinking a glass of wine in the company of friends, listening to the radio and to music of all kinds.

Previous Parish Priests

Father Bill Bergin


Father Bill Bergin came to the Parish from Retford in 2014. He moved a few months later to serve as parish priest in Denaby Main.

Father Brian Lowden,


Father Brian Lowden, pictured left, came to the Parish in 2011 and is a priest of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton on loan to our Diocese, originally as hospital chaplain, and then as our parish priest. He returned to be a parish priest in his own diocese on August 26th 2014.

Father Terry Tolan


Fr Tolan came to the parish from Dronfield when Fr Keegan retired. He celebrated his Ruby Jubilee in the parish in June 2000 and his Golden Jubilee in June 2010. He was the parish priest while the new parish centre was built and opened in 2003. He retired as parish priest on October 22nd 2011. His funeral was held in St William's on 30th April 2015.

Father Thomas Keegan


Fr Keegan took over a cramped and growing congregation in 1961 and, after failing to get planning permission to build a completely new church, extended the existing church and oversaw the creation of its current modern interior. He retired to the Lodge at Mylnhurst Convent in 1996. His funeral was held in St William's in 2004.

Father Diarmuid Scannell


a small fact

another small fact

These were links to articles in the Catholic Herald. One on 21st July 1950 was about five priests and two nuns in one family. The second on 4th March 1955 was about the death of the mother of five priests. Unfortunately the Catholic Herald Archive has gone behind a paywall, so only subscribers will be able to find these at the moment.

Father Thomas Molony


Fr Malony, who had been at St Marie's since 1917, became St William's first parish priest in 1932. Although there had been a St William's mission church for many years, the creation of a parish required the building of the presbytery and the original parish hall. Fr Malony celebrated his Silver Jubilee on March 3rd 1942. He spent his final years in the Lodge at Mylnhurst Convent.

Fr Malony was assisted by several curates including Fathers Hans, Murray, Hynes and Kearns.

Even Earlier

The original St William's chapel was opened (along with some school rooms) on Lee Croft in 1863. It was served by priests from St Marie's except in the years 1865-1870 when it had dedicated chaplains: First Fr Patrick Kennedy (1865-1866) then Fr Martin Kelley (1865-1870). The Crofts were redeveloped by the City Council at the start of the twentieth century. The compensation received from the demolition of the original chapel and school was used to build a new mission church on the current site, which opened in 1905. It continued to be served by priests from St Marie's. The church was substantially enlarged in 1925 and became a parish in 1932.