The priesthood has always been essential to the life of the Church, from the time of the Apostles until today. With the annual Priest Training Fund Appeal taking place over the weekend of 7th & 8th May, we decided to interview Elliot Hanson to reflect on his experience as a seminarian at the Venerable English College in Rome. Since 1579 seminarians have been preparing for ministry at the college, but what can Deacon Elliot tell us about his more recent experience:
Home parish: St Helen’s, Barry – but I was baptised at the University Chaplaincy in Oxford.
Favourite food: After 3 years of studying in Italy, I am a whole-hearted convert to Italian food.
Favourite Saint: That’s a difficult one. The missionary zeal of our martyred Saints such as David Lewis has always been an inspiration. But also figures such as St Catherine of Siena who wasn’t afraid to speak the truth to those in power.
What did you do before seminary? I read Modern Languages at the University of Southampton. I had also taught English as a foreign language in the South of France and back in the UK.
When did you first think God was calling you to be a priest? At the end of my studies, I began asking myself what I wanted to do afterwards but not only in terms of a job but what I wanted to do with my life. At the back of my mind was the idea that God might be calling me to give my life to Him. I had to at least give it a try and here I am 6 years later!
Most challenging aspect of being a seminarian? The transition to being a seminarian can be difficult as we adapt to a different way of living. However, it is only through this “slowing down” that we can cultivate the inner silence of prayer to hear what the Lord really has to say to us.
Most rewarding part of being a seminarian? As a seminarian and a deacon, I have had the immense privilege to be invited into people’s lives in moments of great difficulty and distress. It is such a joy to be able to bring Christ into these situations.
What advice would you give to someone considering a vocation to the priesthood? We seldom regret the things we do but often regret the things we do not do. To anyone considering a religious vocation, I would encourage you to give it a go. Embrace that potential vocation with enthusiasm. God is faithful to those who try to follow Him with sincerity.
Through your prayers and donations, you support young men like Elliot and those working to advance vocations so they can encourage and inspire those who hear God’s calling. We rely on the prayers and generosity of our parishes and parishioners to support the formation of our priests and deacons here in the Archdiocese of Cardiff.
To support the Priest Training Fund click here where you can make a one off donation or recurring monthly gift. If you would like to become a Friend of the Priest Training Fund or are interested in supporting future priests with a gift in your Will, please contact the Development Team on firstname.lastname@example.org