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Remembering fr Clifford Bertrand Pike OP

Wednesday, November 05, 2014
During the month of November we remember and pray for the dead. This year, as in previous years we shall be running a series of posts in which we recall the departed brethren of the Order.

Reviewing some of the obituaries of our brothers from the 1950s, it is striking, during this centenary anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, how life in the Order during this time was profoundly affected by war, with many friars serving with great distinction as military chaplains.

The life of Fr Clifford BertrandPike OP was no exception to this. Born in Bristol on 26 September 1884, one of five brothers, all of whom were educated by the Benedictines at Ampleforth, he was admitted to the Dominican Order at Woodchester in 1905 and made his profession on 27 March 1906. His younger brother Fr Anthony Alfred Pike OP would follow him into the Order two years later. He studied philosophy and theology at Hawkesyard, was ordained priest there on 28 October 1911, and at the conclusion of his studies was appointed to teach in the apostolic school in September 1913.

The following year he was assigned to London where he worked in the parish until 1916, when he became a military chaplain and served in France. He was taken prisoner, but was soon released, and once more took up his duties as chaplain until the end of the war.

Consolation amidst devastation, Mass in the battlefield

Thus in December 1918 he returned to the London priory, and in 1920 he was chosen as Subprior. His next appointment was as Headmaster at Laxton in 1928, but the Provincial Chapter of 1932 made him Vicar Provincial in South Africa. He held this office for three years until 1935 when he was once more assigned to London to work in the Parish.

Salve Regina Procession at the end of Vespers in the London Priory Church 2014

In 1940 he became Parish Priest at Woodchester and Subprior in 1941, but returned to London once more in 1944, where he was to spend the remainder of his life continuously and devotedly occupied with parish work. He died peacefully on 19 May 1954 at the age of 70 with 48 years of profession and 42 of priesthood.

The esteem in which he was held by those who he had laboured so diligently and lovingly for so many years was evidenced by the fact that the vast London church was unable to accommodate all those who came to his funeral. He was buried at the priory cemetery at Woodchester.

Br Toby Lees O.P.

Br Toby Lees O.P. Br Toby Lees is a deacon based at St Dominic's Priory in London but assigned to the Priory of San Clemente in Rome for reasons of study. He is completing his STB at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas ("Angelicum") in Rome.  |  toby.lees@english.op.org


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