Monsignor Peter McGuire was staying with friends in the Lancashire village of Parbold when he died unexpectedly on Tuesday night. Paying tribute, friends said that in the long history of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds, “few priests have served it with more dedication and distinction”.
Robert Finnigan, diocese archivist and friend of Mgr McGuire, said: “The death of Mgr Peter McGuire is an occasion of sadness... across the diocese.
“He was truly a faithful servant of the diocese and its people for the best part of 60 years and was held in deep affection by its priests, religious and laypeople.
“His memory will live long in the history of the diocese and especially in the hearts and minds of all who knew him.”
Born in Selby in 1932, Peter McGuire was ordained priest in 1956 and went on to serve a number of parishes in the Diocese of Leeds including St Theresa’s, Cross Gates, St Anne’s Cathedral, Our Lady of Lourdes in Headingley and St Brigid’s in Churwell. In the summer of 1981 he was appointed administrator of Leeds Cathedral and Vicar General of the diocese, a role he remained in for 18 years. He later also became Dean of the Cathedral but stood down from both roles in 2003. That year his long service was recognised by Pope St John Paul II who appointed him Protonotary Apostolic.
Mr Finnigan said: “During his time at the cathedral it became a spiritual home to countless people who came from far beyond the parish itself but who found there a place of worship characterised by warmth and welcome.
“He was, without doubt, one of the great figures in the history of the cathedral over the past century and more.”
In 2003, Mgr McGuire became parish priest of the Holy Name in Leeds, where he celebrated his golden jubilee of priesthood in 2006. After a short stint as a chaplain in Wigan, he returned to Leeds diocese in 2011 at Mount St Joseph’s in Headingley, where he lived in retirement.