Clergy changes in the Diocese

Diocesan priests at ArsThis month sees a number of changes in clergy appointments within the Diocese.


Three priests have retired: Canon Brian O’Shea, Canon Tom Lavin and Fr David Prior. Canon O’Shea has been ordained for 46 years and has served in the parishes of Our Lady of Lourdes, Wanstead; St James the Less, Colchester; Most Holy Redeemer, Harold Hill; St Basil’s, Basildon; St Edmund of Canterbury, Loughton; Our Lady Immaculate, Chelmsford and his current parish of St Thomas of Canterbury, Grays. He was appointed as a Canon of Brentwood Cathedral when the Chapter was reconvened in 2016 serving as Secretary.

Canon Lavin has been ordained for 46 years and has served in the parishes of Our Lady & St George, Walthamstow; St Augustine, Barkingside; Holy Family, Dagenham; Our Lady
Immaculate, Chelmsford; St Margaret of Cortona & All Saints, Canning Town; Our Lady Help of Christians & St Helen, Westcliff-on-Sea; SS Peter & Paul, Ilford and currently St Teresa
of Lisieux, Lexden. He was appointed as an Honorary Canon of Brentwood Cathedral in 2019.

Fr Prior has been ordained as a priest of Brentwood Diocese for 23 years and has served the parishes of St Thomas of Canterbury, Grays and The Holy Family & All Saints, Witham
where he has been parish priest for the past 22 years.

We wish them all long and happy retirements.


Parish Priests

Mgr John Armitage makes a welcome return to the Diocese after his five-year appointment as Rector at the National Shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham. Mgr John will be parish priest at Canning Town and has also been appointed as Master of the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom.

Fr Andrew Forys will be moving from Canning Town to Lexden at the beginning of October, while Fr Martin Hardy has now taken over in Grays. (He will continue to minister as Priest Chaplain at New Hall School.)

Fr Nixon Gomes will take over in Witham, moving from Assistant in Colchester.

Fr Bartolomeu Blaj has been appointed to South Woodford (Fr Bartolomeu is an experienced priest who will be joining us from the Diocese of Iaşi in Romania.)

Canon Peter Connor will be moving from the parish of South Woodham Ferrers/Danbury to Ingatestone as of 17 September. He will also replace Fr Paul Cracknell as Chaplain to HMP Chelmsford.

Fr Matthias Baidoo will move from Ingatestone to South Woodham Ferrers.

Fr Dominic Howarth is to serve as parish priest in Romford, following the death of Fr Tom Jordan. Fr Dominic will continue to be based at both Romford and at Walsingham House at Abbotswick while a new Director of Diocesan Youth Ministry and a Caritas Development Co-ordinator are recruited.

We also welcome back to the Diocese Fr Gerald Gostling who will shortly be returning from our twinned Diocese of Dundee, South Africa where he has been working for the past 16 years.

Assistant Priests:

Newly ordained priests Fr Adrian Lowe and Fr Paschal Uche will be moving to Wanstead and Colchester, respectively.

Fr Neil Brett is to explore his vocation with the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter.