|St Ralph Sherwin|
Proto-Martyr of the College
|Fr Tony Milner (left) and |
Fr François-Xavier Dumortier SJ
(Rector of the Gregorian University)
Fr Tony is one of a number of priests in our diocese who have roles outside the parish. Fr Jonathan How and Fr Stepehen Dingley, for instance are at St John's Seminary, Wonersh near Guildford where all the other diocesan students are based. There are a number of other priests with other non-parish roles such as Fr Paul Turner, the Diocesan Vocations Director.
We may wonder why with apparently falling priest numbers they are not in parishes. The truth is that many of these men have been in parishes, and are in these current roles only for a few years before returning to a parish. They also have a set of skills and abilities that are vital to the training of new priests and other activities. Finally, in many ways our diocese is blessed with the number of priests it has. A new diocese has just been erected in Tanzania and apart from the Bishop there are only 2 priests for 335,000 Catholics. This diocese has over 100 priests for some 400,000 Catholics. We should count our blessings!