called to serve as a priest or deacon
‘The priest continues [Christ’s] work of redemption on earth’
– St John Vianney
Our Priests (from the Greek presbyteros + elder) are co-workers with our Bishop in proclaiming the Gospel and administering the Sacraments. A priest carries out his ministry in communion with the other priests, under the leadership of the Bishop.
Being a priest does not mean just assuming an office or a ministry. Through Holy Orders a priest receives as a definite power and a mission for his brothers and sisters in faith. A priest who administers the Sacraments is a servant who is given the transforming, healing and saving power of Christ through his ordination in order to do God’s work. The Priest will proclaim the Word of God, administer the Sacraments and above all, celebrate the Holy Eucharist. They are called to be celibate as Jesus was, to show his undivided love and devotion to God. [YouCat #249, 250, 254, 258]
What to do?
Many priests speak of a niggling call from God rather than a definitive word, others say they knew from childhood.
However you receive your call from God, in the first instance share it with those you trust. Speak of it in a normal way and preferably tell your parish priest or spiritual director, if you have one.
At any point you can contact a member of our vocations team, usually one of the directors; Frs Andy or Mark. You may, at this stage not be sure what the specifics of your call are; diocesan priesthood or a Religious order, it is still good to connect.
Vocations weekends are planned three times a year. These are weekends for men who are discerning priesthood. You may be in the very early stages of discernment and don’t worry you do not have to sign anything! You can take your time and meet priests who can share more about this incredible life. Priesthood is a gift to our diocese, and we would love to connect with you as you continue your journey with God.
“Our diocesan presbyterate is growing. Deacon Daniel Rooke will be ordained priest on Saturday, 26th September at The Holy Child and Saint Joseph’s Church in Bedford. It will be good to see Daniel beginning his life and ministry as a priest and hopefully his witness will inspire others to present themselves as candidates for priesthood in the diocese. My own sense is that vocations emerge from vibrant and life-giving parish communities where there are joy-filled and zealous priests who are truly missionary apostles. This is why Oliver Patton, our most recent candidate for the priesthood, is spending his first year of formation in Our Lady’s, Corby and Deacon Andrew Coy is at the Cathedral. Please do keep them and our seminarians at Oscott, Deacon Liam Castle, Jithu James and Anthony Premkumar in your prayers. The pandemic affects every aspect of our diocesan life, but hopefully we can soon see developing opportunities for prayer for vocations emerging in our parish and religious communities.
And if I focus here on vocations to the priesthood, this can never be to the detriment of vocations to the permanent diaconate, consecrated life and the myriad of ways in which the baptised faithful can serve Christ’s Kingdom. My own priestly vocation was born within a parish community where there were a number of spiritual and apostolic groups, with a constant focus on what it means to be a baptised disciple of Christ. And if you may be wondering what a bishop prays about, the desire for every single soul in our diocese to become faith-filled, hope-inspired, loving missionary disciples of the Kingdom of God is very much at the heart of the matter.
Daniel is being ordained in his home parish, and so to a few words about the patrons of his parish, the Holy Child and St Joseph. St Joseph is the perfect model of spiritual fatherhood. He is open to God’s will and provides for the Holy Family, having the responsibility of being a father figure to the Word made flesh. There is a profound humility about St Joseph. Having accepted the divine will offered him in a dream, we hear not another word from him in the Gospels. And yet, we can see his influence upon ‘the son of the carpenter’ on every page of the Gospel.
After the boy Jesus is found in the Temple in Jerusalem and returns to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph, we hear nothing of His life until He is thirty years old. During the hidden years, the Gospel tells us that Jesus ‘increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.’ Whatever our vocation and state of life; within marriage and family life, working in the office or the school, the factory or the hospital, in ordained ministry or consecrated life, we all have much to learn from the Holy Child and St Joseph.”
✠ David J Oakley
Bishop of Northampton
Who We Are
Our Contact details
Fr Andy Richardson – Diocesan Vocations Director
Fr Jonathan Hill – Diocesan Vocations Promoter
Fr Francis Higgins – Diocesan Director of the Permanent Diaconate
Deacon Mick O’Leary – Assistant Director of the Permanent Diaconate