Fr Paul’s Story
I was born at Stratford in East London, and by the time I reached the age of 10 we moved to Brighton. I knew from this age I wanted to become a priest. The influences in my life to decide this were my parents and the parish family at St Mary Magdalen’s our parish church. This is the church I was to be ordained in 16 years later in 1962.
To achieve this goal brought its difficulties. I went to St Augustine’s House Walworth London to study Latin, as the school where I went didn’t teach this.
Two years later I went to St John’s Seminary Wonersh Guildford where I studied for a further 6 years. My first experience of parish life was in East Sheen where I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful PP Cannon Cahill who was very kind and great fun for a new priest, also my first encounter with the then Fr Howard Tripp, who of course became our Bishop 15 years later.
After three years I was moved to Wallington where by the PP was Fr John Mulholland. Over the next 8 years we built the new church, schools and presbytery as this was a time of great growth in this area.
Next I set off for West Norwood and on to Dover to be assistant priest at St Paul’s for 6 happy years. This parish went back to 1795 when it centred around the port and the schools, convents, borstal, the barracks and the hospitals. Here I was to gain much experience in many directions.
In 1980 I was made PP and RAF Chaplain at Biggin Hill. Once again I was to help rebuild the church.
Six years later I was asked to come back and be PP at St Elphege's, where Fr Mulholland retired but stayed to assist. I have now been in Wallington as PP for 21 years, and seen many changes with in the church and parish. This year I celebrated in our parish my 45 years of ordination and I thank God and all the people for making this possible and a happy occasion. Next year we celebrate the parish centenary where the first mass was said in the old church.
I believe it to be important to encourage men
to think about the priesthood and I ask many with this in mind. Because
of this several have become priests and I feel privileged to be one of
the influences in their decision.