Every Christian person has a vocation. which means ‘a calling’. Each person is called by God to become more like Jesus Christ- to share his life and love, to grow in knowledge and love of God, and to place their personal gifts and talents at the service of others. God calls many to choose the vocation of marriage; some to choose the single vocation; and others to choose life in the vocations of religious, priests and deacons. We come to know and appreciate the vocation to which God calls each person through prayer and reflection, and through speaking with others about our hopes and desires, our gifts and talents.

In the 100 years of Parish life, St Edward’s has been blessed with many vocations to the priesthood and the parish are delighted that Andrew Connick, a young man who grew up in the Parish, will be ordained to the priesthood on 2 July 2011 in Westminster Cathedral.

Here is Andrew’s story:

st edward catholic church priestThe parish of St Edward the Confessor, Golders Green, has been my home for nearly all my life. I was baptised, received First Holy Communion and confirmed there. I was an altar server from the age of six, and I’m sure the seed of my vocation to the priesthood was sown at that time. It was in Golders Green that the gift of faith was nurtured through the sacraments and the faith, prayer and example of so many good priests and parishioners. I went to university in Cambridge to read Computer Science. It was there I discovered that faith is not irrational or without content, but could be engaged with my whole mind and heart, and it was there I realised that the person of Christ was present and calling to me. After six years at Allen Hall seminary in Chelsea, my ordination to the priesthood is on Saturday 2nd July at Westminster Cathedral. It is an immense and humbling gift to be called to offer my life in service to God and the Church as a priest.

The photograph shows Andrew Connick during his Ordination to the Diaconate by The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 26th June 2010

Starting with the early days of the Parish the Priestly Vocations of which we are aware are listed below:

Fr Edward Reany, MHM lived in Cavendish Avenue, Finchley and attended St Edward’s Parish with his family in the early years before St Philip’s Parish was started. Fr Edward spent many years as a missionary in the Congo (called the Belgian Congo at the time) and was honoured several times by the King of Belgium. He died March 20th 1959.

Dr Wiiliam Reany, DD, brother of Fr Edward, was ordained in 1912 and was a lecturer at St Edmund’s College Ware for many years. He often visited St Edward’s where he celebrated Mass and was present for the Consecration of the Church in 1934. He died in 1968 aged 80.

Fr John Caraman, SJ was born in Golders Green in1905 and was educated at Stonyhurst College. He joined the Jesuits at Roehampton in 1924 and was ordained in 1939. Most of his priestly life was spent as a Missionary in Zimbabwe (called Rhodesia at the time) and Zambia.

Fr Philip Caraman, SJ was born in Golders Green in 1911 and, like his brother John, was educated at Stonyhurst College. He joined the Jesuits at Roehampton in 1936 and was ordained at Farm Street in 1945 where he remained for 16 years. In 1959, he was appointed vice-procurator for the cause of the Canonisation of the Forty English Martyrs and was in St Peter’s when they were canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul V1. After spells lecturing in Church History at St Edmund’s College Ware and in Norway he retired to a parish in Somerset where he died in 1990.

Fr Bernard Magill, SJ was born in Golders Green in October 1911 and lived in Templars Avenue. He was educated at Stonyhurst College from 1922-1929 and joined the Society of Jesus in 1929. He studied at Roehampton, Heythrop College and Campion Hall Oxford where he graduated in mathematics. Fr Paul was ordained in 1944 and taught at Stonyhurst College, St Ignatius College, Stamford Hill, Preston Catholic College and Newman 6th Form College in Preston. He died in Preston April 30th 1995.

Fr Paul Magill, SJ was born in London in January 1913 and, like his brother, was educated at Stonyhurst College. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1935 and studied at Roehampton, Heythrop College and Campion Hall Oxford where he graduated in science. He was ordained at Stonyhurst in 1947 and taught there for almost 30 years, including a period as Rector, and was the moving spirit of the College’s annual pilgrimage to Lourdes. In 1978, Fr Paul retired from teaching and became a parish priest. He suffered from a major heart attack in 1984 and died in Blackburn January 1st 1985.

Fr Thomas le Blanc Smith, OCSO began his life as Graham le Blanc Smith. He lived in Kingsley Way and was a parishioner of St Edward’s. He worked at the Bank of England, and then studied for the priesthood at Mount Melleray and in Rome until 1940. He entered Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, the Cistercian monastery in Leicestershire and, as Fr Thomas, he was much involved in the music of the choir for many years, serving as organist and choirmaster. He taught philosophy and theology to students preparing for the priesthood and was active in ecumenical work with the Church of England. He gave spiritual guidance in the guesthouse and was greatly loved. Fr Thomas died peacefully in 2005, aged 92

st edward catholic church priest Fr Mike Smith, SJ was born in Golders Green, baptised in the Church and began his schooling there until his family moved to South London in 1950. He joined the Jesuits in 1963 and was ordained in 1978. He taught in many Jesuit schools including Stonyhurst College and Wimbledon College where he was Head. Fr Mike later became Director of the Southwell House Youth Project in Hampstead until it closed in 2009. He recalls that he met many of the confirmation candidates, and some of those already confirmed, as they visited for a part of their preparation or for a retreat. He stopped telling them how long ago he was baptised there when he realised that it was well over half a century ago!

st edward catholic church priestCanon Robert Plourde was born in 1944 and baptised at St Edward’s by Fr Michael O’Dwyer. He was educated at Manor House Convent, Finchley, Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, East Finchley, and the Salesian College, Cowley, Oxford. After working for 3 years Canon Robert trained as a teacher at St Mary’s College Strawberry Hill. and taught from 1967-69 at our Lady of Lourdes Primary School East Finchley. Canon Robert began his studies for the Priesthood in 1969 at St Edmund’s College Ware and following his Ordination in 1975 he served as a curate at Isleworth (1975-76) and St Mary’s East Finchley (1976-1981) and was Vocations Promoter from 1979-83. Canon Robert was appointed Parish Priest of Gunnersbury in 1983 and then St. Bartholomew’s, St. Albans 83 – 94 where he was also RC Ecumenical Chaplain to St. Albans Cathedral From 1995-98. Canon Robert worked for CAFOD preparing for the Millennium 95 – 98. He became Parish Priest of the Holy Apostles, Pimlico 98 – 2001 and St. Luke’s, Pinner in 2001.

Diocesan vocations website: http://www.rcdow.org.uk/vocations

Diocesan Vocations Director
Fr Richard Nesbitt
T: 020 7349 5624

God has created me to give him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another.
These inspired words of Cardinal John Henry Newman speak to the deepest longings of our hearts. We all have that burning desire to make a difference, to live a life of meaning and purpose, to discover what is that “definite service” which God has created us for.
(Fr Richard)

Fr Richard runs two initiatives to help people discover that “definite service” which God intends for their lives:

Monthly Vocations Mass
There is a monthly vocations Mass on the first Saturday of the month in Westminster Cathedral at 12.30pm.

Westminster Vocations Discernment Group
The discernment group for young adults (18-30’s) is held on the evening of the fourth Friday of every month. The group is open to both men and women, and the meetings are usually held in the Hinsley Room from 7-9pm.

For further information see the website or contact Fr Richard at richardnesbitt@rcdow.org.uk.

Priesthood Allen Hall: