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‘One more step along the road’ has been a popular hymn for many. On Saturday 10th March at Allen Hall Seminary, the words of that hymn would have described the day well.

It was a great joy to have the previous Rector of the seminary, Bishop Mark O’Toole celebrate the Mass and induct six men into the Ministry of Reader.

Bishop Mark is now the Bishop of Plymouth and one of the men inducted to this ministry was a seminarian from his diocese, Andrew Marlborough. Three men were from our diocese: Daniel Daley, Mike Guthrie and Axcel Soriano. Then there was John Ashu, a seminarian from the Vincentian Community, and James Lewis, a seminarian from the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

The Ministry of Reader has a simple liturgy. Each seminarian is presented with a Bible and the Bishop charges them with the responsibility of being ‘careful’ in proclaiming the word of God. When these men are finally ordained deacon the Bishop will say to them: ‘Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.’ For these men receiving this Ministry of Reader was the start of a ministry that will grow in importance over the next few years.

This year, Bishop Mark told those instituted that he would like to present them with their own Bibles, the Bibles they had used each and every day. It was moving to see them receiving back their already well-used Bibles. It was a clear indication that this was not a new beginning for any of our men, but an acknowledgement that the Church was recognising the prayer and learning that had already gone on in seminary. The recognition was of one more step along the way: the way to priesthood.