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By Fr Francis Thomas

This past year, serving as a deacon at St Anthony of Padua, Edgware has been a real time of fulfilment. After all these years of academic study, human formation, spiritual growth, and pastoral experience, I have begun to use these in the parish.

It has been a real joy to preach on Sundays, baptise young children, catechise their parents, visit the sick and housebound with Holy Communion, and, hopefully, in the process, sharing my love for Jesus and his Church.

I have also learnt a great deal from the people who I have been sent to serve. They have inspired me with the courageous way in which they have dealt with difficulties, family challenges, unemployment, and questions of faith. I have been encouraged by their passionate love for Jesus in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which is exposed for several hours every day in the parish.

I am excited about priestly ordination with the opportunity to serve people by administering the sacraments. I have been blessed with all the support and prayers of so many parishioners all over the diocese.

Having been considering a vocation to the priesthood since I was 16, I can’t quite believe it’s actually happened. There have been moments of doubt, frustration and thinking that other ways of life are easier. Thankfully, relying on the grace of God, he’s helped me to persevere, and I hope to be a faithful priest.

Fr Francis was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Vincent Nichols on 24th June 2023. Please pray for him as he begins his ministry.

Photo: Fr Francis gives the Cardinal a first blessing at the end of the Mass of ordination.