The Vicar of Grangetown, Canon Graham Francis – the longest serving priest in the Church in Wales – is retiring at the end of this month.
Neath-born Father Graham, 70, who was ordained in 1971, has been in the post since 10 years and vicar of the parishes of St Paul’s, St Dyfrig and St Samson in Grangetown and St Mary’s in Butetown for the last 13 years.
In tribute, the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said: “Graham’s ministry, together with the deliverance ministry work that he has undertaken in the diocese, has been outstanding. I wish Graham and his wife Eleri a long and happy retirement.”
Fr Graham has served his whole ministry in south Wales after training at St Michael’s College, Llandaff and University College, Cardiff. He was made a Canon in 2002.
He met his wife Eleri while a curate in Cowbridge. They have two children Illtyd and Catrin and four grandchildren.
He was made vicar of Penrhiwceiber in the Cynon Valley in 1976 and has been honorary chaplain to the Port of Cardiff, the Cardiff branch of the Mission to Seafarers and the Cardiff branch of the Merchant Navy Association, since his association with Butetown and Grangetown.
His community work has included being chair of governors at St Mary the Virgin Primary School in Butetown and a trustee of the Huggard charity that supports the homeless in Cardiff.
Associate priest Father David Morris – who joined Father Graham in Grangetown three years ago as the youngest minister in the Church in Wales, said he had been a great source of advice on many matters within the life of the church. “Fr Graham has developed a reputation as a diligent and personable parish priest, who is highly thought of by his parishioners, many in the local community, his colleagues and countless others who have had the pleasure of knowing him. During his ministry he has enjoyed working ecumenically with other Christians, as well as with other faith communities”.
Fr Graham is said to be looking forward to spending more time with his family, especially his four grandsons in his retirement.
His retirement will be marked with a special Mass at St Mary’s on Saturday 30th January, 12pm, followed by a reception at Butetown Community Centre, to which all are warmly invited.