Vocations Home2021-06-18T14:36:49+00:00

“And so to all our young people, in our parishes, schools and university chaplaincies, I say: if you think the Lord may be calling you, be open and generous in your response and I promise you the Lord will always be at your side to help, guide and empower you through his Holy Spirit.”

Bishop Patrick, Pastoral Letter on Vocations, 2016

What is a Vocation?

At its heart, it is a call from God to love and serve him and his people. Vocations take different forms but the common element that lies within them is the opportunity to respond freely and generously to that invitation that God offers to us. The particular path we take is one that we should all take time to think and pray about as it is a significant decision in any person’s life. In these pages we aim to provide a little bit of introductory information about the different vocations people have and some steps they may take in discerning and following along those paths.
If you would like information about the Permanent Diaconate, please contact Director of Deacons Formation in the Diocese, Deacon Raymond Keogh: deaconraymond97@gmail.com or the Secretary of the Team, Deacon Peter Swarbrick: peter.swarbrick@ntlworld.com..

Religious Life

Those joining a religious order will be following in the footsteps of men and women who have dedicated their life to following Christ in a life shaped by their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, whilst guided by the charisms of their particular religious order. We are blessed to have a number of religious communities present in our diocese.


A Diocesan Priest most often lives out their vocation through service of a parish community. They do this in a multitude of ways – the celebration of Mass and administration of the other Sacraments, leading the community in prayer, visiting those in need, and providing for the spiritual and temporal needs of the people.

Single Life

The Vocation to the Single Life is sometimes portrayed as the vocation of default. That risks missing its importance as well as the thought and prayer of many who follow this way of life. We enter adult life in the single state, but most do not spend their entire life in it. Most people will discern a calling to another pathway that they then commit their life to.


The Vocation to Married Life is a profound and beautiful gift that many are called to. In this vocation, two people dedicate their lives to the faithful love and support of one another in a relationship that provides the opportunity for love to grow, deepen and flourish.

From those in formation…

Upcoming Events

Our vocation and discernment events are a great chance to meet other people and learn fro each other’s experiences. If you can’t find an event soon, don’t forget you can get in touch with us at any point.

  • We invite you to support a team of pupils from your school to enter our Diocesan Vocations Competition. The winning submission in each County of the Diocese wins a special Trophy for their school. A Poster is attached for you to display. Winning entries will be used throughout the Diocese for Vocations Promotion.   The

    Categories: Events, Video ResourcesBy 1.3 min read
  • Categories: EventsBy 0 min read

House of Discernment

The priest’s residence at Our Lady and St Edward’s Parish, called the Old Friary, was once a Franciscan Community and has been converted into a House of Discernment.

Some men who are considering a vocation to the priesthood find it helpful to live and work alongside the Fathers and the parish community of Our Lady and St. Edward for a period of up to a year. These men have a simple program of formation to help them learn about the priesthood as they decide whether to apply for seminary study.


Resource Centre

In this section you’ll find resources, news and content that will help you in your discernment, or allow you to know more about vocations.

The Diocesan Vocations Team

The dedicated team are here to promote vocations in the Diocese of Nottingham as well as guide individuals on their personal discernment

Sr Susan – Vicar for Religious2021-05-28T10:31:18+00:00

Sr Susan was born and raised in the Diocese of Nottingham, the primary and secondary schools I attended were both run by Presentation Sisters. After a constant nagging in my heart, I decided to “go and see” what it was like to be a Presentation Sister and “get it out of my system”.   That was 47 years ago and I am still here. My main ministry for a good number of years was as a secondary school teacher. I then spent 10 years in administration and following a year’s sabbatical, returned to secondary school as a chaplain. As part of this role, I was privileged to have visited India and made links with Presentation Schools there.  Having retired from teaching, I am now Vicar for Religious in the Nottingham Diocese; I am involved in the parish and primary school where I now live and I also help with the archives for the Presentation Sisters in England and respond to other needs as and when they arise.

Fr Paul Newman – Director of Vocations2021-05-28T10:35:30+00:00

Fr Paul is from Eastwood in Nottinghamshire. He studied for the priesthood at Oscott College and was ordained on 20th July 1989. Since that time, he has worked in a number of parishes around the diocese, with extra diocesan roles including responsibility for the sick and retired priests, Episcopal Vicar for Laity, diocesan youth officer and a member of the Bishop’s Council. He has been Vocations Director for the diocese since 2017 and since September 2020 also the Parish Priest at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Eastwood and Chaplain to the Diocesan Youth Retreat Centre at the Briars in Derbyshire.

Our Lady of Good Counsel, 280 Nottingham Road, Eastwood, Nottingham, NG16 2AQ; tel: 01773 713532; email: paul.newman@dioceseofnottingham.uk

Fr Jonathan Cotton – Assistant Vocations Director2021-05-28T10:38:11+00:00

Fr Jonathan is from Nottingham. He studied for the priesthood at St. Joseph’s College, Upholland, and was ordained in June 1976. He has served in a variety of parishes and roles during his ministry in the Diocese. These include being Vocations Director, leading The Pilgrims Community for eighteen years which closed in 2007, and working in a number of parishes mostly in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Since May 2017, he has been Assistant Parish Priest at Our Lady and St Edward’s Church in Thorneywood and Assistant Vocations Director.

The Old Friary, 247 Gordon Road, Thorneywood, Nottingham, NG3 2LG; tel: 0115 950 1064; email: jonathan.cotton@dioceseofnottingham.uk


Sister Maureen Brennan, CSJP2021-05-28T10:39:08+00:00

Sr Maureen is from Leicestershire.  At the age of 27 she entered the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace who were founded in Nottingham in 1884.  After a period as a candidate in community in Grimsby she moved to London where she completed two years as a Novice.  She made first profession in August 1980 before making her final vows in her home Parish of St Theresa’s, Birstall on 14th September 1985.  Maureen undertook both Religious and Academic study for several years after entering Religious Life and has served in a variety of ministries in her 43 years as a Sister.  These have included a Night Shelter in London, A Refuge for Women and Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Washington DC, Residential Social Work with Youth in Middlesex and 28 years with Faith in Families (formerly the Catholic Children’s Society) Nottingham.  With the Catholic Children’s Society, she Initially took charge of the Mother and Baby Home in West Bridgford for several years as it had been run by the Sisters since the beginning in 1948.  Maureen then joined the Adoption Services in 1992 and remained with the Agency until 2014. Since then, she has undertaken roles within her Congregation which include Region Vocation Director and Safeguarding.  In addition, she is the Religious Safeguarding Adviser on the Diocesan Safeguarding Commission.

Diane Williams • Vocations Administrator2021-05-28T10:40:04+00:00

Diane has been married for over 33 years and have 3 great girls who are all working in the health sector. I was educated at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Primary School, Bulwell, Nottingham (which is still my parish and at which I volunteer for various roles) and Loreto Grammar/Trinity School. I then worked in insurance, accounts and administration for the following 15 years.

I began to help out at school when my youngest child was 3 months old, taking her with me to meetings and shopping for school events. I began volunteering at Church when they were all at Primary School and I was subsequently employed as secretary for 2 parishes for 7 years. After this, I worked for the Diocese of Nottingham in the Adult Formation Department for 7 years; both roles I thoroughly enjoyed. During the years working for the Diocese, I realised the importance of my own spiritual formation; with Encounter being the pivotal turning point.  These roles have equipped me with knowledge and experience to enable me to work alongside Clergy and Religious in the Vocations Team.

Pietro Albano • Vocations Team Member2021-05-28T10:40:43+00:00

Pietro Albano is a husband and father. A Science lecturer by profession, he is actively involved in various ministries at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Parish, Bulwell, Nottingham. He was President of the Filipino Rosary Crusade (Nottingham) and is Editor-in-Chief of anluwage.com, a Catholic Filipino website. 

Fr Wilfred Pereppadan SCJ2021-05-28T10:49:50+00:00


Fr Wilfred Pereppadan SCJ is a member of the Religious congregation called Sacred Heart Fathers and Brothers of Betharram. He was born in India and spent his seminary days in Mangalore, Bangalore, and in Birmingham. At the age of 19, after completing discernment, he joined the Congregation. He received first Profession as Religious in May 2002 and Perpetually Professed in September 2009. He was ordained in Kerala in India on 13 th  August 2011. He spent his first year of priestly and religious life in Assam, North East of India. He returned to England in June 2012, being appointed as Regional Vicar of England. He served as Parish Priest of Olton Friary Parish in Solihull in the Archdiocese of Birmingham from February 2013 to March 2018. He currently serves as Parish Priest.

Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus.

Mother Teresa

Vocations FAQs

It’s normal to have questions when exploring or learning about vocations, here are some questions that are often asked but don’t be afraid to use our contact page to get in touch if your question isn’t answered here!

Pray about it, sharing with God how you feel and asking God to make his purpose for your life clear. Read & reflect on the “call” stories in the Bible and imagine how you would respond in similar circumstances. Inform yourself about priesthood and religious life by researching online, in books and speaking to priests and religious. Seek Advice from family, friends and people you trust. Make contact with the Diocesan Vocations Team, come to their Discernment Evenings and online Cafes. Follow their advice. The Diocesan Leaflet “Discernment” has more details.

Here we are speaking about two distinct “calls”, which need to be taken one at a time – the call to be a Catholic and the call to priesthood or religious life.

For an adult to become a Catholic the usual process is first to start attending a local parish community. Arrange a meeting with the parish priest and, when you feel ready, join the series of enquiry evenings, often called R.C.I.A. Once you have completed these sessions, they very often lead up to the Easter Ceremonies during which is the usual time to be formally initiated into the Catholic Church.Then, you will need to spend a few years getting involved in the local parish community, experiencing the inevitable ups and downs of the spiritual life and parish life, making friends with fellow parishioners from varied backgrounds and diverse opinions.

If the call to priesthood or religious life persists, then have a word with your parish priest and make contact with the Vocations Team at The Old Friary and follow their advice. See the contact details elsewhere on this website.

Yes. The Vocations Team arrange events during the year for enquirers. There you will meet like-minded people. In time, a visit to a seminary or to a religious community can be arranged to help you in your discernment.

Once you have made your interest known to the Vocations Team, they will keep in touch with you and you are free to keep in touch with them. The various discernment events are there for your support. Before you are accepted for more formal training, there is an interview process with Application Forms to complete.

For Diocesan Priesthood, it is the Bishop, with the support of his advisors, who makes the final decision about accepting your Application to be a Diocesan Student. The Seminary College where the formation takes place can last up to seven years depending on your circumstances. It is a supportive environment designed to help your continuing discernment as well as helping the seminary staff and the Bishop decide on your suitability.

For Religious Life, the different religious orders have their own processes of discernment and formation suited to their particular way of life. Once you decide to which religious order you are attracted, you can make direct contact with them and follow their advice.

Contact Us

If you require information about vocations in the Diocese of Nottingham, or is you’d like assistance in your discernment journey, please contact us and we’ll do out best to reply promptly!

Your name
What is your message about?
Thank you for your message. It has been sent.
There was an error trying to send your message. Please try again later.
Go to Top