My Ordination

After five and a half years of study at Ushaw College Durham, I was eventually ordained in May 1982. I had made preparations for this to be done by the Archbishop of Southwark, Michael Bowen. I had written to him and arrangements were made for the ordination in July. I wrote to tell my siblings, four of whom were living in Australia. Shortly afterwards I received a letter from the Archbishop asking me if I would consider being ordained by the Pope (John Paul II) who was soon to visit England; names would be put into a hat. I was stunned and excited. I told my Prior, who encouraged me. So I wrote back saying I would be happy, honoured in fact, to be considered. My name was drawn out of the hat. And so began a few months of frenetic preparation. It was so late to organise anything. I had been convinced that the Pope was going to ordained one polish deacon; at least, that is what we deacons believed when leaving Ushaw College, Durham; the seminary I went to. It was now March and I had to contact everyone to tell them of the change of date and venue. Now instead of St Mary’s Church, Clapham, SW London, it was going to be in Heaton Park Manchester, in front of two hundred and fifty thousand people.

31st May 1982. My ordination. Manchester. John Paul II.