Paul Bilton Ordained a Deacon for Diocese of Arundel & Brighton
On a warm summer’s evening in St Paul’s Catholic Church, Haywards Heath at 5pm on Sunday 9th July, Rt Rev Richard Moth, Bishop of Arundel & Brighton Diocese ordained Paul Bilton, a parishioner of St Paul’s, to the diaconate.
A full church saw him ordained for service in the church in Haywards Heath and the local area. He was joined not only by his wife, Helen but also his daughter, Maria and two sons, Leo and Isaac, other family, parishioners of St Paul’s as well as many friends from across the Diocese and elsewhere.
Bishop Richard was joined by 18 deacons who welcomed Paul into the Diaconate. These included Deacons Gerard Irwin and Dave Turner who are already Deacons in the parish. They were also ordained on 9th July in 2006 and 2011 respectively, and his parish priest, Fr Martin Jakubas was also ordained priest on 9th July in 1983. There were also 8 other priests present who concelebrated at the Mass.
The idea of becoming a deacon was first planted in Paul’s mind by his then parish priest when he lived in London in the early years of married life. He didn’t actually hear “the call” though until he was recovering from illness in 2008. Having reached a point in life where it started to look possible in practical terms, he approached his current parish priest about this in 2012. After a period of selection and discernment his studies began in earnest in Autumn 2014.
Born in Yorkshire, Paul after leaving school, studied History at Girton College, Cambridge in the mid 1990s. Whilst there he developed a love of studying Scripture particularly when studied in ecumenical groups. It was also at Cambridge that he met Helen, his wife, when they were both trustees of a small children’s charity.
Paul and Helen have been married for 18 years. They moved to Haywards Heath from London when they were expecting their first child and have now lived there for over 15 years.
Paul is a qualified accountant and has worked as a civil servant, finance manager and consultant. He currently works for the National Audit Office but from August he will be starting a new job as Bursar at Worth School.
Paul said “I am very much looking forward to finding out what God has in store for me as I embark on his new adventure in the diaconate, and am very grateful to all those who have supported me to get this far.”
Bishop Richard during his homily at the ordination, reflecting on the Gospel reading for the Mass from St Matthew said to Paul: “Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.’ Indeed, so many people in the world today are overburdened, and they will look to our new Deacon, Paul to help them with their burdens.”
He went onto say: “Jesus gives us a model of simplicity and humility and Paul, this must be your model, a humble servant of the Lord for others, that they might copy you and become humble servants of the Lord.”
The ordination was followed by a wonderful reception in the local School Hall where Deacon Paul was warmly received by family, friends, clergy and parishioners.
Photo credit ©Focus Photography 2017