Thomas Kent was ordained to the priesthood on 11th July 2020 at Arundel Cathedral. Having spent most of his teenage years away from any kind of church, he was confirmed as a Catholic when he was eighteen and began his seminary formation at St John’s in Wonersh just two years later. Speaking about his recent ordination Fr Thomas said ‘Getting ordained was an incredible and beautiful experience, with much peace and joy.’ Fr Thomas celebrated his first Mass at St Joseph’s Church in Guildford.
‘I have just finished my third year of formation at St John's Seminary, Wonersh. And, hopefully, I will spend the next academic year in Arundel Cathedral on my Extended Pastoral Placement.
I am originally from Argentina born to Italian parents. I completed a degree in English as a Foreign Language back in Argentina where I worked as a teacher. Once I settled in Europe, and after a career break, I moved to the area of Human Resources where I worked as a project manager, a position I held until I started my priestly formation. Due to work commitments, I had the chance to live in various European cities until I finally settled in the UK.
My parish base is currently Weybridge, where I live when I am not in seminary. During my formation I have had one short pastoral placement in Chichester; however, for the past 3 years, I have had the opportunity to visit other parishes of the diocese as well as take part in the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes as a Redshirt leader in 2018.’
‘I was baptised in the Church of England while studying Law and German Law at university, and soon began exploring ideas about vocation. I spent some time working in parishes in central London to try it out, and then began training for the Anglican ministry. During that time I felt the pull of the universal Church and became a Catholic just over three years ago. After a year’s placement in a parish I went to the English College in Valladolid, Spain, for an introductory year, and have now finished my first year at St John’s, Wonersh. I’m enjoying the prayer life and studies, and the chance to get to know people and parishes around the diocese.’
‘Following a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Bristol, I spent three years in academic research, followed by thirteen years teaching in secondary schools. Throughout this time, I felt I had a vocation to Priesthood, but was highly successful at ignoring this calling. I am now in my fourth year of formation at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh and have spent the last year on pastoral placement in Eastbourne. In summer 2018, Stephen O’Brien and I spent six weeks working in a rural parish in Kenya, which was extremely rewarding. Seminary life is incredibly challenging on many different levels, but I have never been happier, and the time has provided a wonderful opportunity for growth.’
Gary is in his second year at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh having spent the propaedeutic year of his formation at the Royal English College, Valladolid. Gary is from St Erconwald’s Parish in Walton on Thames. He studied Theology at the University of Chester for his undergraduate and Masters degrees and worked at the local Catholic secondary school for a number of years before beginning seminary. During his time at the school, Gary was received into the Church. He started the formal process of discernment for the priesthood after some years of prayer and many good conversations with his parish priest and the priests at his workplace on the subject of a call to the priesthood. He has spent time on placements at St Richard’s, Chichester and St Mary of the Angels, Worthing during his formation so far.
I come from Hastings in East Sussex, from the Parish of St Mary, Star of the Sea. I am coming to the end of year 5 at Wonersh. I have enjoyed and appreciated so many parts of our life: from our challenging and rewarding academic studies, to our pastoral work. I have had the great privilege of doing so many pastoral activities. Most notably, I spent my Extended Pastoral Placement- for ten months- in Eastbourne, and also spent a month in a Catholic parish in Kenya. Our life of faith and friendship is so enriching, and I hope and pray that I may be accorded the supreme privilege of using what I have learnt at Wonersh in the service of God’s people.
Eddie comes from the Parish of the Nativity of the Lord in Redhill, Reigate and Merstham and is now in his third year of seminary. Most of his working life was spent in Adult Education, where he focussed on teaching English to immigrants and refugees, although he also completed a Masters in Theology in 2016. Before starting seminary, he spent a year as a pastoral assistant at St Joseph’s Dorking. His first and second year placements have taken him to Guildford and Chichester, and he has also been spotted on the diocesan Lourdes pilgrimage.