Vocations in Southwark Diocese


The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve

Matthew 20:28

Is God calling you?

God has a definite plan and purpose for all of our lives and some men receive a unique call to be a Catholic priest or deacon. Their purpose to is to bring people to God and God to his people and to share the peace, forgiveness and love of Jesus with all.
This is not just a calling to serve, but also a personal beckoning from God to evolve into the person that he has always intended you to be, with all your unique skills, gifts, interests and characteristics.

Catholic Priests forgo a relationship with one person in order to be a spiritual father to many and through Mass, the sacraments, preaching and prayer, they become living witnesses to Jesus and bring His light into the world for all people.

Deacons are called to have particular care for the poor and for social justice, often leading on parish initiatives to serve those in need. They may preach at Mass, baptise and officiate at weddings. In addition they may also distribute Holy Communion, visit the sick and lead in the catechetical and pastoral life of the parish, for example by supporting prayer or gospel study groups.

The Gentle Path of Discernment

It can sometimes be challenging to know God's plan for your life and in particular, whether you are being called to be a priest or perhaps a deacon. Although some men receive a dramatic calling, for most it involves a period of discerment, which allows time to listen to the prompting of God's voice, to notice events, circumstances and perceive deep inner guidance what you are being called to and where you belong.

If the idea of giving your life to the priesthood fills you with inspiration and hope for the future, it is good to share your thoughts and feelings with others who can help you determine your path.  

A few signs that you are being called to serve may be as folllows:

  • a sense of personal calling from God
  • love for Jesus and a longing to bring others closer to him
  • care for others and an ability to listen to people
  • a deep inward desire to be a priest or deacon 
  • heartfelt resonance with the Church and her teachings
  • a wish to lead a life of prayer and reflection
  • be internallly orientated towards the divine and outwardly towards expression and action
  • be inspired by the lives of the saints and other moral figures
  • other people have said 'you would make a good priest'
This is not an exhaustive list: if you would like to talk to someone about discerning your vocation within Southwark, please speak to our Vocations Director, Fr John Diver, or the Vocations Promoters listed below: they will take time to listen and offer guidance.

As part of the discernment process you may be directed to a Galilee Group. These monthly meetings of prayer and fraternity are for men considering what God is calling them to do with their lives. The meetings take place in Balham (South West London), Lewisham (South East London) and Canterbury (for those who live further into Kent).

Vocations Director: Father John Diver
Email:   Tel: 020 8300 2480

Vocations Promoters:

Father Ignatius Edet:
Email:            Tel: 020 8399 9550

Father Thomas Lynch
Email:            Tel: 01634 717582

Father Peter Murphy
Email:            Tel:  020 8402 0459

Father Philip Seed
Email:               Tel: 01843 861627

Father Richard Whinder
Email:       Tel: 020 8355 0211

Follow Me

Once you have been accepted by the Archbishop as a candidate for the priesthood or diaconate, a significant period of study is required: generally five or six years.

Although some seminarians may study at the English College and those entering into a vocation in later life may attend the Beda College (both in Rome) the majority of men in Southwark attend St John's Seminary, which is based at Wonersh near Guildford.

The video above offers some insight to the shape of the daily lives of seminarians and shows how they are prepared for the priesthood and diaconate, not just through study, but also by participating in the wider life of St John's.

Additional Reading

If you are interested in reading about whether God is calling you to enter into ministry, this small booklet, entitled 'Is Jesus calling you to be a Catholic Priest' can provide some helpful insight.



Brief History


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