Here's a fine bunch of guys, even if I say so myself! The brethren gathered together are all my classmates in the southern diocese's Permanent Diaconate Formation Programme, based at St John's seminary, Wonersh
The formation programme is affiliated with St Mary's University College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, for the academic element of the formation process.
Here we all are just after graduating with our foundation degrees in Pastoral Ministry. Some of us (who want further brain damage!) will go on to top up the degree to a full BA honours in Theology & Religious Studies that means that there is a Long Essay (5000 words) and a Dissertation (10000 words) to complete in the semester after ordination.
Most of us are undertaking our final appraisals on which basis the formation teams will make their recommendations to the respective bishops for ordination...or maybe not! So, if I get the Call to Orders, July 21st at Westminster Cathedral should be the date for me.
In this picture we got all types destined for ordination as Catholic Permanent Deacons this summer. The Director of Professional Affairs at the ICAEW is in there, along with a hospital doctor, a professor of law at Cambridge, a director of public health, an accountant and someone let a health and safety consultant in as well! On the ends - Dr Peter Tyler Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Theology, adding a splash of colour and Rev Ashley Beck, Dean of Studies, for our clergy formation programme.
ORA PRO NOBIS!