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Priesthood

“As I said in the introduction to this Vocations section, we all have a vocation flowing from our baptism!For some men, that vocation may be to the priesthood. As Vocations Director, it is my role to encourage especially this particular calling. After all, the call to the priesthood is a vital one within our Church because a priest is ordained to be a sign and instrument of Christ the Good Shepherd for his people, and to preside at the Eucharist.John Paul II said the following in 1999 about the need for priests:‘There is a need for heralds of the Gospel who are experts in humanity, who have a profound knowledge of the heart of present-day man, participating in his joys and hopes, anguish and sadness, and who are at the same time contemplatives in love with God. For this we need new saints’

Pope Benedict XVI, at the end of the Year of Priesthood, commended priests to serve God and God’s people with holiness and courage, always conforming their lives to the mystery of the Lord’s cross

Clifton Diocese requires heralds of the Gospel – “ordinary men called to do extraordinary things”. Our Diocese needs men to follow that calling of priesthood and to serve our people with holiness and courage.

Could it be you he’s calling!

How do I find out more?

Father Matt Anscombe
will be happy to answer any questions or to help explore a possible vocation to serve as a priest in the Clifton Diocese.

Fr Matt Anscombe
Vocations Director
Phone: 01275 833 699

vocations@cliftondiocese.com

Currently we have five seminarians in formation for the priesthood.

Stuart Ford:

Stuart is currently in his fifth year of formation at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, having spent last year on extended pastoral placement at St Osmund’s, Salisbury.

Stuart comes from Holy Family Parish, Swindon. He already has a degree in history and, prior to coming to seminary, spent a year as Chaplaincy Assistant in the University of Bristol Catholic Chaplaincy. In the past few years, Stuart has also had a separate short placement at St Osmund’s, Salisbury and at St Peter’s, Gloucester.  Please keep Stuart in your prayers

Thomas Lawes:

Thomas is also currently in his fifth year of formation at St John’s, Seminary, Wonersh, having spent last year on extended pastoral placement at the parish of Holy Family, Swindon.

Thomas is from Holy Redeemer and St Osmund’s, Salisbury. Before going to seminary, Thomas spent six months with the parish of St Francis, Nailsea and St Joseph, Portishead on a special discernment placement. During his formation, Thomas has also had placements at Holyrood, Swindon, and St George’s, Taunton, Let us pray for Thomas too!

Stephen Corrigan:

Stephen is in his fourth year of formation at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, and is currently on extended pastoral placement in the parish of St Peter’s, Gloucester.

Stephen comes from St Dunstan’s Parish, Keynsham. He has a degree in Politics and Theology from Leeds University. He has experience of working at St Cassian’s Centre, Kintbury and also as Chaplaincy Assistant at the University of Bristol Catholic Chaplaincy. During his formation, he has had placements in the parishes of St Osmund’s, Salisbury and St Bonaventure’s, Bristol.  Let us pray for Stephen too!

Henry Balkwill

Henry is in his fourth year of formation at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, and is currently on extended pastoral placement in the parish of St Nicholas of Tolentino, Easton, Bristol.

Henry hails from Bath, with links to St Joseph’s, Peasedown and St Alphege. Henry joined the diocese following some time in formation with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Dublin. Henry has lots of experience of parish and youth ministry and chaplaincy in various places. Before going to seminary with the diocese, Henry spent five months in the parish of St Bernadette’s, Bristol, where he completed his Masters in Pastoral Theology. Please keep Henry in your prayers!

Joseph Meigh

Joseph is in the third year of formation at St John’s, Seminary, Wonersh.

Joseph comes from St Gregory’s Parish, Cheltenham. He completed a degree in theology from Oxford in 2014. In 2015, Joseph had the opportunity to visit every parish in the diocese as Fr Matt’s support driver on his ‘Ride for Vocations’! Joseph has had two very positive parish placements in St Nicholas of Tolentino and St Joseph’s, Portishead with St Francis, Nailsea.  Let’s keep Joseph in our prayers too!

Stephen Findlay-Wilson

Stephen is in his first year of formation at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh.

Stephen’s home parish is St Osmund’s, Salisbury. He has a Phd in Molecular Virology. He has two brothers who are priests, one of those being Fr Dominic, parish priest of English Martyrs, Chard and St Joseph’s, Ilminster. Let us pray for Stephen as he begins this journey.

David McConkey

David is a former Anglican clergyman, who originally hails from Kansas, USA. He has ministered in the US, Zimbabwe and for many years in the UK. Having become a Roman Catholic and getting heavily involved in his parish of St Gregory’s, Cheltenham, where he is organist, we are delighted that he has put himself forward to be considered for priesthood in Clifton Diocese. David is studying at St Mary’s College, Oscott, Birmingham. Let us keep him in our prayers.

Stuart, Stephen and Thomas spoke with Phil Gibbons last year about life in the Seminary.  Along with Fr Matt, they explain how they are getting on and how they like being at Wonersh. You can hear the podcast below: