Tuesday, 20 September 2011

New Beginnings - A Student for the Priesthood Writes

5 of 6 current A&B Seminarians with
Bishop Kieran and Cardinal Cormac
in Lourdes
Simon Dray who is a student for the priesthood for the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, at the beginning of the new term at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, near Guildford, Surrey, writes:

"Readers may be delighted to know that the community has now returned to Wonersh for the new academic year and marked the new year with Solmen Mass for the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Last Monday (5th September), 14 new men for various dioceses started at Wonersh of which 9 are in the first year This is a sure sign of the Lord's goodness and am sure also a fruit of Pope Benedict's Papal Visit, whose legacy we celebrated last weekend. On the Sunday, the Seminarians from Wonersh joined our brothers from Allen Hall, Oscott and The Venerable English College and others who worked so hard in making Pope Benedict's visit so successful at a special Mass at Westminster Cathedral.

2010/2011 was an extradordinary year and the Holy Spirit working through the Papal Visits to the UK and to Madrid for World Youth Day have indeed encouraged men, young and not so young to be open to the call to priesthood. I have heard this called the "Benedict Bounce". It was also an amazing year because of four Ordinations to the Priesthood (Fr Gerard Hatton, Fr Kevin O'Donnell, Fr Alex Hill and Fr David King). At present we currently have five men in formation to the Priesthood: Deacon Chris Dobson (Wonersh), Simon Dray (Wonersh), John Watts (now on Extended Pastoral Placement at Sacred Heart in Hove), Stephen O'Brien (English College, Rome) and starting his formation Tristan Cranfield (English College, Rome).

We are all excited about Fr Terry Martin's appointment as Vocations Director and are also extremely grateful to Fr Paul Turner for all his guidance, wisdom and support of these past few years and wish him well for his move to Chichester. On Tuesday 6th September we all (except Tristan who has already left for Rome for his intensive Italian Language course) met with Fr Terry at Arundel for Mass in the Fitzalan Chapel in Arundel Cathedral. We prayed Vespers together and shared a meal. We also enjoyed a talk from Fr Jonathan Martin the Chancellor of the Diocese. We are extremely grateful to Canon Tim for his hospitality and his continued support as we discern our vocations.

Those who want to find out more about Vocations to the Priesthood can visit the ArundelBrighton Vocations Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ArundelBrighton-Vocations/127778647311487

People can also sign up for the group: A Decade a Day for Vocations: http://www.facebook.com/groups/268093473205010/

Fr Terry has also launched a new Vocations blog: http://vocationsinarundelandbrightondiocese.blogspot.com/ titled "I will give you Shepherds".

Also don't forget to visit the new Seminary website http://www.wonersh.org/

Let us all pray that the "Benedict Bounce" continues and that this time next year we can count A&B students amongst the new intake. Please pray for us as we prepare for priesthood and for all our priests."

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