Although Fr Philip has been with us for a week or two now – he started just before the Adoremus weekend – we have not had a proper chance to welcome him to our Cathedral. We offer him our support and our prayers as he begins what we hope will be a very special ministry for him and we hope that his time spent amongst us will be a time that he enjoys and will remain in his heart for always.
Fr Philip says, ‘I am from Netherton in Bootle, my home parish is Saint Benets where I have worshipped all my life. I went through the same process many young Catholic boys do and became an altar server when I was 7. As a matter of fact, Canon Anthony O’Brien was a curate at Saint Benets at the time, so I am happy to have been placed here at the Cathedral under his guidance.
When I was 9 I progressed from serving the altar to playing guitar and singing in the parish music group, and I continued this until I went to seminary in 2013, first to Valladolid in Spain for the propaedeutic year, then onto the Pontifical Beda College in Rome.
It has been a long journey for me in discerning the priesthood. I was 18 when I first considered going to seminary to train for the priesthood. This was during a pilgrimage to Lourdes with the Archdiocese, but I never felt I was ready, certainly never felt good enough to put myself forward, so I continued working for different companies, mostly in the finance departments dealing with creditors and accounts management.
Over the years the question was always in my mind as to if the priesthood was something I could consider as a serious possibility, and the more I tried to bury the calling to priesthood, the more difficult it got to ignore it.
It was again on pilgrimage to Lourdes with the Archdiocese that I finally gave in and submitted to the many signs I was being shown and which I truly believe were coming from our Blessed Mother herself, needless to say, I couldn’t say no anymore, and on returning home from the pilgrimage, I contacted the Vocations Director and there began my seminary discernment journey. Five years later I was ordained here at the Cathedral along with Fr. Carl Mugan and Fr. Anthony Kelly, both of whom I studied with at Beda College in Rome.
One of the constants in my life has been the faith, love and support I have received from my family. I am forever grateful to my mum and dad, my brother and sister and their families and my extended family and friends for all the support they have given me in my formation journey, and the support they continue to give me.
I look forward to my time here at the Cathedral. The challenges and experiences that are ahead of me I know will only go toward making me a better person and hopefully as good a priest as I can be. I thank you all for the lovely warm welcome I have had so far and in advance I thank you for the prayers and support I know you will give me during my time here. God Bless.’