“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!

Currently we have seven seminarians in formation for the priesthood.

StuartStuart Ford:

Stuart is currently in his third year of formation at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh.

He comes from Holy Family Parish, Swindon. Stuart 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 couple of years, Stuart has had placements at St Osmund’s, Salisbury and St Peter’s, Gloucester and thoroughly enjoyed both experiences.

Please keep Stuart in your prayers


ThomasThomas Lawes:

Thomas is also currently in his third year of formation at St John’s, Seminary, Wonersh.

He comes from 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. At the end of his first year of formation, Thomas had a placement at Holyrood, Swindon, which he found very encouraging. At the end of his second year, he spent time in the parish of St George’s, Taunton, which was also a good experience.

Let us pray for Thomas too!


StephenStephen Corrigan:

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

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. At the end of his first year, he had an excellent placement in the parish of St Osmund’s, Salisbury.

Let us pray for Stephen too!



Henry Balkwill

Henry is also in the second year at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh

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 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!



Paul Bright

Paul is in the first year of formation at St John’s, Seminary, Wonersh.

Paul is from St Gregory’s Parish, Cheltenham. Prior to coming to seminary, Paul taught both in primary and secondary schools. He is a welcome addition to our group of seminarians.

Please pray for Paul!




Joseph Meigh

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

Like Paul, 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’!

Let’s keep Joseph in our prayers too!




Richard Elson

Richard is currently living at St Peter’s, Gloucester and studying two days a week at St Mary’s Seminary, Oscott. Having previously studied for the priesthood, Richard is completing some final studies as he moves forward in faith towards Ordination.

Please pray for Richard!




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:

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.

Vocations Director:
Fr Matt Anscombe
St Bernadette’s Presbytery
731 Wells Road
BS14 9HU
Phone: 01275 833699