News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
As they come to the end of their first term of studies, we welcome James Finnegan and Michael Harwood as students for the priesthood.
James writes: allow me, by way of introduction, to share with you a little bit about myself and my journey to beginning seminary formation with a view to priesthood.
I’m 23 years of age, and was brought up in Knotty Ash, attending St Margaret Mary’s church and schools. I then went on to St Edward’s College, where I took A Levels in French, Biology and Religious Studies, and then up to study Theology at University. Throughout this time, I discerned that still, small voice of the Lord calling me into loving service of Him and His Church and, even in times when I have felt very far from God, that voice has not gone away, ‘Come, follow me’. During a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2017, I decided that it was about time to take a firmer step in responding to that call, to put out into the deep and see just how, and why, Jesus was asking me to go after him.
That decision manifested itself in deciding to ask the vocations director, Father James Preston, if I might take up residence at the House of Discernment in Aigburth. After a year of developing my spiritual life, engaging in pastoral work within the parish, and going through the formal application to begin seminary formation, I’m now studying at the English College in Rome.
I ask for your prayers as I take this next step into the, as yet, unknown, that I may grow deeper into the knowledge of the love of God, and so share it with the world.
Michael writes: I am incredibly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to study for the priesthood at the Pontifical Beda College in Rome.
I first felt a calling to the religious life in my teens and I was interested in teaching, but the time was not right for me to enter seminary. I took a degree in modern languages and post graduate qualifications in education and later in management. Initially I taught young people and adults with special educational needs and then became a Senior Lecturer in Languages and European Business. As a senior manager I became deputy principal in sixth form and further education colleges. I then moved to a national role designing and commissioning training for college lecturers, managers, principals and governors.
Living and educated in Crosby, I spent most of my working life based in and around Cambridge before returning to Crosby a few years ago. This move was unplanned though I knew that I wanted a change in my life as the calling to the priesthood had curiously started again after many years. I continued to commute twice weekly to London and, after some negotiation, was allowed to take a six month sabbatical to focus on discernment. Through excellent spiritual direction, advice and support, I soon realised that the obstacles were purely practical but all along, I have been clear that priesthood is not my ambition, it is the Lord calling. With your prayers and His grace I will succeed in fulfilling His plan for me.