St Benet’s parish was established at the close of the nineteenth century, as a community of the Benedictine Order. It is a tradition within the Order that parishes at a distance from the mother-house are referred to as ‘missions’.
Our Priest-in-Charge is normally a member of the Benedictine community of Downside Abbey in Somerset.
Dom Martin Gowman OSB has served at St Benet’s since 2011. He joined the Benedictines in 1997, was ordained deacon in 2006 and became a priest in 2007,
Fr Martin assisted in local Benedictine parishes near Downside Abbey before being sent to East Anglia.
As a Benedictine monk, Fr Martin aims to promote the three vows of stability, obedience and conversion of life, which can help in the building of communities extending beyond parish boundaries.
The office of Deacon has existed since the earliest days of the Church, when the apostles appointed men to help them with their work; indeed, all trainee priests are ordained as Deacons, as part of their personal development into the full priesthood.
The independent role of Deacon lapsed for many years, before it was restored in 1967, following the second Vatican Council. The role enables mature men, married or unmarried, to be ordained as members of the Catholic Clergy and to work with the Bishops and Priests in the service of the Church.
Deacons receive their authority from, and are principally responsible to, the local Bishop. They have their own ministry, particularly that of preaching and proclaiming the Gospel, through which the Word of Christ may be revealed in the world.
We are fortunate to have two Deacons to assist our Priest at St Benet’s: –
Rev. Mike Wells, was ordained Deacon in May 1991. Mike has special responsibility for St Benet’s Churchyard, the Grounds and the Parish Hall.
Rev. Tony Felton was ordained Deacon in June 1996. Tony deals with matters relating to the Registrar’s Office and other aspects of Marriage Preparation.
Tony is a professional accountant and administers the charitable “St Edmund’s Fund”, for the Diocesan Commission for Social Concern – Caritas East Anglia.