Altwood’s newest priest has been extremely busy, visiting 100 families in his first four months.
Father José Clavería, known as Pepe, joined St Edmund Campion Parish, Altwood Road, in September and loved his first Christmas here.
He said: “It’s been a marathon having Christmas dinners with families since November, I’m getting very large.
“I thought the English were private people but this community is something special and so welcoming.”
Born in Spain as the tenth of twelve children, 51-year-old Pepe described his childhood as “very interesting”.
He has around 50 nephews and nieces, and said: “We get 100 children on Sundays and parents worry they’ll be unwelcome, but I'm used to it.
“My family and children are all of our parishioners, so I feel that my fatherhood is bigger than even my father’s was.
“It’s a huge responsibility but it’s beautiful too.”
Pepe has been working with youths in the parish, which covers west Maidenhead from Hurley down to Paley Street.
He has started a monthly club for those aged 17-25, offering home-made pasta and a place to discuss their lives.
Pepe said: “It is for anyone, from any background. They just have to want to share their lives.”
He also wants to help people apply their faith to their everyday lives, and is hoping in the future to renovate the church and parish centre.
Pepe took his first steps towards a church career when he studied theology in Madrid, before spending 16 years as Vienna’s university chaplain.
Although fluent in Spanish, Italian and German, Pepe has only been learning English since joining the parish but says that he is “improving a lot”.
Father Pepe is looking for more parishioners living in Hurley and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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