Q&A: My journey to the priesthood

Deacon David Edwardson, 65, a former Anglican clergyman, will be ordained to the holy priesthood this weekend. He tells us what brought him home to the Catholic church.

What are you most looking forward to in your ministry? 
Doing what I believe I am called to be. To preach, to teach and to celebrate the sacraments. I can think of no greater privilege than that. To walk with and alongside others on their Christian pilgrimage, to learn from them, to lean on them and to be leant on from time to time too. Priesthood is a stepping deeper into what it is to be human; walking the road with others.

What did you do before your journey to the priesthood?
I have taught biology in secondary school, been an Anglican priest for nearly 30 years and a School chaplain for 10 of those. I have lived and worked in France, latterly in the Archdiocese of Bourges.

Your favourite memory from your time as an Episcopalian clergyman?
My time as chaplain working with large numbers of young people, with their freshness, genuine interest and enthusiasm for life, the church and the world.

What drew you to the Catholic church?
It was most certainly God who drew me to the Catholic Church, who brought me ‘home’. Since my first encounter with Him it became clearer and clearer just what He wanted of me. The journey has been difficult and at times painful but always I have been conscious of His Spirit leading me.

At what point did you decide you wanted to become a Catholic priest?
I had known since an encounter with God earlier in my life that He wanted me as a priest. I could not articulate why for a long time and still it is difficult to do so but I just knew. As He led me into the Catholic Church it was as a priest.

Has anyone in particular inspired you in your journey to priesthood?
I have been privileged to meet many holy people lay and ordained over the years. Each in their own way, without perhaps realising it has shaped and formed me. To meet real faith and the love of God and His Church is humbling and inspiring. These people have shown me that serving as a priest is a very powerful witness to others and a way in which I can serve too.

What advice would you give to other men considering the priesthood?
Go for it. If Christ is calling you or you think you might be called by Him then respond to that call. It is not an easy path but a wonderful journey, a journey which is profound and well worth making. It is also a great joy and full of surprises! The will of God will not lead you where His Spirit won’t sustain you!

Who’s your favourite saint?
St Francis of Assisi. His utter abandonment and dedication, his hope and his commitment. His otherworldliness and love for all around his as God’s creation. His Christ-like vision.

David Edwardson will be ordained to the holy priesthood at St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh at noon on Sunday 8 September. Read more about his journey to the priesthood in this article from the Scottish Catholic Observer, published in September.