First Steps and Contacts

It is important to get advice from a person whom can give good guidance on priestly vocations. A sensible choice would be your parish priest or a chaplain that you know. You may also want to speak with the Vocations Director for the Diocese, Fr Paul Newman, or the Assistant Vocations Director, Canon Jonathan Cotton. They are available to speak with those considering a vocation to the priesthood as well as running regular discernment events during the year (details of which are posted in the 'Advice, Reading and Upcoming Events' section).

The House of Discernment, The Old Friary

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.

Fr Paul Newman, Vocations Director

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. He can be contacted at Our Lady of Good Counsel, 280 Nottingham Road, Eastwood, Nottingham, NG16 2AQ; tel: 01773 713532; email:


Fr Jonathan Cotton, Assistant Vocations Director

Fr Jonathan is from Leicestershire. He studied for the priesthood at Upholland College and was ordained in June 1976. He has served in a variety of parishes and roles during his ministry in the diocese. These include having led the Pilgrims Community for ten years during the 1990s, being Vocations Director, 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. He can be contacted at The Old Friary, 247 Gordon Road, Thorneywood, Nottingham, NG3 2LG; tel: 0115 950 1064; email: