Our Seminarians

Please keep our seminarians in your prayers:

 Rev. Jonathan Whitby-Smith


Class: Final Year
Milestones: Deacon 2017, Candidate 2016, Acolyte 2015, Lector 2014, Start 2012
Home Parish: University of Nottingham Catholic Chaplaincy
Seminary: Allen Hall, London

I’m originally from Guildford, Surrey, but moved to Nottingham to read Theology at the University of Nottingham when I was eighteen. Whilst I was there I converted to Catholicism and went on to work in the university chaplaincy as a lay assistant. I remember thinking at the confirmation during my reception into the Church that here I had finally found that perl of great price worth the whole of my life. During my time working in the chaplaincy I found myself more and more drawn to prayer. It was particularly through the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours and a deeper appreciation of the real presence of the Lord in the Mass that I came to the realisation that God loved me, and I him. At the same time I experienced a great sense of contentment in being there to help the students on their journeys of faith, sharing their joys and struggles. Gradually as I arranged the jigsaw pieces of my life I came to the realisation that the Lord was calling me to be a priest. I spoke to the chaplain and the vocations director and at twenty-four I applied to train as a priest for our diocese. In 2012 was sent to Allen Hall Seminary, in London.

 Rev. Paul Smith


Class: Final Year
Milestones: Deacon 2017, Candidate 2017, Acolyte 2016, Lector 2015, Start 2014
Home Parish: Our Lady of Lincoln, Lincoln
Seminary: Pontifical Beda College, Rome


 William ‘Liam’ Carpenter


Class: Final Year
Milestones: Candidate 2017, Acolyte 2016, Lector 2016, Start 2014
Home Parish: St Peter’s, Leicester
Seminary: St Mary’s College, Oscott, Birmingham

My parents are Catholic, but didn’t practice when I was a child. I was baptised, but not taken to church. At the age of 11, I suddenly felt a desire for God, and perceived that my life was impoverished without a relationship with him. In that moment God became very real and close. I started to regularly attend Mass. I was struck by the generosity and kindness of Fr Carty, the parish priest, and I was inspired by his example of kindness and love. I wondered then about becoming a priest. However my love of the liturgy, coupled with an unease at the thought of being a public person, and a natural shyness, drew me to consider whether I would be better suited to life as a monk. After university I took up the monastic life. The nearly 8 years spent as a Benedictine had a profound influence on me, but in the end I found that what I greatly enjoyed in the monastery was the opportunity to engage with people. As time progressed I realised I was being called to serve God as a pastoral priest. Despite leaving the monastery being painful I am now able to perceive that my vocation to become a diocesan priest was sewn in and through my having served the Lord as a monk. In 2014 I began formation for the diocesan priesthood.

 Limnyuy ‘Lim’ Gamsi

 Limnyuy Gamsi

Class: Fourth Year
Milestones: Lector 2016, Start 2014
Home Parish: Our Lady’s, Leicester
Seminary: St Mary’s College, Oscott, Birmingham

I grew up in Leicester but my secondary school was a Catholic all-boys boarding school in Cameroon where my family is from. After an upbringing of going to Church frequently but out of habit, I began to realise the beauty of the faith. It was an eye opening experience living in a country that is so overt about its Christian faith. Through a daily routine of prayer and individual reading on my part I was able to deepen my Catholic faith in my five years there. By the time I left to return to Leicester for college I knew I wanted to be priest. After college at the age of eighteen I went to the Royal English College in Valladolid, Spain for a spiritual year of discernment before full seminary. There it was good learning about the Spanish culture and taking pilgrimages to places which were dear to saints such as Teresa of Avila and John of God. The next year in 2014 I arrived at St Mary’s College, Oscott.

 John Owens


Class: Bespoke Course
Milestones: Start 2017
Home Parish: St Joseph’s, Oakham
Seminary: St Mary’s College, Oscott, Birmingham

Having converted to Christianity at the age of 18 through the reading of the Bible, I attempted to find a home amongst the various Protestant groups.  This became unimaginably difficult because I had been taught to interpret the Bible for myself and no group could match up to my understanding of what the Bible said about the Church.  After 7 years of search I submitted myself to the 39 Articles of Religion and Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England and was encouraged to seek ordination.  I studied for three years at Mirfield and then was ordained Deacon on 30 June 2013 at Leicester Cathedral.  Soon after ordination the basic principal of my Christian life, the Bible alone as the source of all doctrine, was shown to me to be false and illogical.  I needed to find the Church which our Lord established but being anti-Catholic, I looked everywhere but the Catholic Church.  In the space of months I read many books which, by the grace of God, broke down my prejudices and I was received with my Wife and children into the Catholic Church on the 13 December 2013.  Now, after over 10 years of theological study and nearly four years as a Catholic, Bishop Patrick has given me the further gift of having the opportunity to discern a vocation to the Catholic Priesthood at Oscott.