Our Parish Priest   

 

Father Paul Lomas Writes:-

There are not too many married priests in the Catholic Church but since 1992 many former clergy from the Church of England, both single and married have become Catholics. As celibacy was not compulsory in the Church of the England the Catholic Church has dispensed from celibacy those married who sought and have been accepted for ordination in the Catholic Church. I am one of those priests allowed by Rome to be both married and a priest.

I was raised in Droylsden where my parents, Joan & Roy, still lived until 2015, mum died in October that year and Dad moved to be with us. I was brought up in the Church of England. From very early in my life I became much involved in the life of St. Andrew’s Church in Droylsden. I was an altar server, a Sunday school teacher and eventually a Licensed Reader.

It was at the Youth Club there that I met my future wife, Andrea. She was fourteen and I was sixteen when we went on our first date! I trained as a teacher of chemistry and taught in Salford. We were married in 1975. Our son, Andrew was born in 1976 and daughter, Claire was born in 1981.  

I gave up teaching in 1979 and became a salesman. Over the next ten years I sold engineering products and eventually mobile telephones, rising to the role of sales manager.  

I had always felt a calling to the priesthood in the Church of England, but only tested this vocation in the eighties. I was recommended for training and was ordained in 1989. I became curate in St. Margaret’s Hollinwood and after three years became Rector of the Holy Family in Failsworth.  

These were both “high” Anglican parishes and I considered myself a catholic working in the Church of England. My great dream was that the Church of England would once again become part of the Catholic Church. While at Holy Family I began to realise that this dream wasn’t likely to happen and so decided that I needed to be a Catholic in the Roman Catholic Church. Andrew had become a Catholic in 1996 when he was at university and at Easter 2001 Andrea, Claire and I were received at St. Joseph ’s in Sale. My parents were also received into full communion in 2005.  

In 2002, I began training within the Shrewsbury diocese in preparation for ordination. I was ordained deacon in July 2003 at Shrewsbury Cathedral along with the permanent deacons. I was then ordained priest by Bishop Brian on 22nd November 2003 in St. Joseph ’s parish, Sale .

Bishop Brian appointed me as assistant at St. Joseph’s in Sale .  

I enjoyed tremendously my time with Mgr Peter Walton and the people of St. Joseph’s, particularly my time spent with the young people in the parish and at St. Joseph’s Primary School, along with Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College in Altrincham, where I was chaplain. Also, during the last two years, I have been involved with Loreto School in Altrincham and St. Ambrose College in Hale Barns.  

On November 22nd. I celebrated ten years as a Catholic Priest in the Diocese of Shrewsbury. Despite my left leg being in plaster I was able to clumsily stagger into the sanctuary to celebrate Mass on the evening. I stumbled on the way up the steps and slipped on the way down at the end of Mass, so that has been the only occasion I have said Mass in church since the operation. It was marvellous to be joined in the sanctuary by Fr. Mike Dyson and Deacon Andrew. After Mass we had a terrific party in the parish hall.

In September (7th) 2014 it was the sixth anniversary of my arrival in Heald Green. On that day we had the bishop’s visitation, when Bishop Mark spent the weekend with us all. At the 11 a.m. Mass he especially thanked Andrea for her support of me in my ministry. This was a wonderful moment for me, to hear the bishop publicly thank Andrea was an acknowledgement of her importance to me, not just as a wife but as a support to my ministry. Fr. Paul always maintains he could not have done what he has done in his life without the love, friendship and support of Andrea. Not to mention the careful criticism when he has needed it! We look forward to many more happy years of ministry here in Heald Green.

 

 

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