|Laying on of hands on Roy Waters by Bishop Richard Moth ©A&B Diocese 2017|
A full cathedral saw him ordained for service in the church in Surrey and Sussex. He was joined not only by his two sons, their wives and his grandchildren, but also other family, parishioners of Cranleigh and Bramley parish in Surrey as well as many friends from across the Diocese and elsewhere. Bishop Richard was joined by over 50 priests who welcomed Roy into the priesthood. Also present were some 35 deacons many of whom had known him over the years as a fellow member of the Permanent Diaconate and were there to wish him well in his new ministry.
Father Roy, as he can now be called, was born and raised in the Sussex. He spent his early years first in Brighton and then Chichester before returning to Brighton where he was a parishioner at St Nicholas Anglican Church. He actively considered a vocation to the Anglican priesthood as a single, celibate man, but he then met and married the love of his life, Hilary. They had two children Rod and Tim, now grown up and with their own families.
He worked for many years in the Telecommunications industry and was responsible for many projects including installing communications for Air Traffic Control and the Instrument Landing Systems at Gatwick Airport. At the same time, he was active in the local community working with the Samaritans in Brighton and Hove for which he was the Director for several years. Finally, he moved to Gomshall in Surrey with his wife, Hilary where he was Lecturer in Telecommunications and Contracts Manager for BT before a final stint in ‘early retirement’ for Ericsson.
At this point in the early 1990s he finally fulfilled his teenage desire of becoming a Catholic and was received into the Church in the Franciscan Friary at Chilworth in 1994 by Fr John McCaffery O.F.M.. In 1999, he started training for the Permanent Diaconate at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, near Guildford and was ordained a Deacon in June 2002 at Chilworth Friary. In 2011 when the Franciscans left Chilworth he continued his ministry in nearby Cranleigh and Bramley parish which took over care of the parish.
There was an unexpected turn of events when his dear wife, Hilary suddenly died and after which he was asked to consider ordination to the priesthood. Fulfilling another teenage dream, he found himself in January 2016 at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh again, but this time training for the priesthood. He said, “My time at the seminary, even at my age, has been a really worthwhile experience in which time I have learnt much, not least to know that ‘for God all things are possible.”[i]
Fr Roy now begins the next stage of his life as priest in a parish saying Mass, visiting the sick, working with young people, celebrating funerals and baptisms, visiting local schools and much more. Fr Roy said: “To become a priest is an awesome privilege but a role I look forward to living for the rest of my days leaning heavily on the Lord Jesus.”
He continued, “Today was a moment of great joy in the gift of priesthood I have received from the Lord and I looked forward with happiness and excitement to serving the people of Arundel & Brighton Diocese.”
At his ordination in his Homily Bishop Richard reminded Roy, as a person grounded in the love of family and God, to be at the service of the people as a minister of word and sacrament, and said to Roy “Be an effective and joyful priest in service of Christ and his Church!”
The ordination was followed by a wonderful reception in the Arundel Cathedral Hall and where Fr Roy was warmly received by family, friends, clergy and parishioners.
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