Brendan Gilligan

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New Dean installed at cathedral of St John the Baptist, Norwich

Father David Paul has been installed as the new Dean at the cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich. The 67-year-old former teacher has taken up the post at the second largest Catholic cathedral in the UK.
After reading History and Theology at University of Keele, Fr David embarked on a career as a secondary school teacher before he felt a calling to the priesthood. Ordained 20 years ago, he has worked as a Parish priest in Cambridge, Ipswich and most recently the St Peter and All Souls in Peterborough which Fr David says is very different from the cathedral Parish.
Fr David, who is originally from Durham, said: “Education has always been a passion of mine and teaching is a large role within the priesthood itself. I am grateful to have this background and, wherever possible, I will always try to encompass teaching into any role I take.”
Joining him in Norwich will be two colleagues from his current position in Peterborough, Fr Michael Collis, 29, who is fluent in Portuguese and Fr Aroyicka Seelan, 36, an Indian priest with a wealth of experience.
Fr David sees his key role in Norwich as developing and nurturing the parish, the diocesan church and the cathedral and helping the cathedral and the Narthex become more widely known.
“They are a hidden gem,” he said. “The cathedral is an absolutely stunning building and The Narthex is a wonderful venue with facilities on a par with any other within the city.
“Not only can people see the fantastic architecture of the cathedral; we have a beautiful garden cafe, a bar, and function rooms available for business lunches, meetings and dining.”
Fr David, who has been a regular visitor to Norwich over the last few years, added: “Norwich has everything you need and the cathedral and the Narthex are at the centre of it all. I’m very much looking forward to living and working here; I like the historic nature of the city, the vibrancy and creativity it brings. Norwich seems to be a manageable city and has a life of its own.”
As the new Dean, Fr David brings with him extensive cultural experience from working in Peterborough, where up to 40 different languages are spoken.
An Italian speaker, he sees one of his first jobs as getting to know people within the parish and the wider Norwich community and meeting and welcoming visitors to the cathedral.
“I like being around people, learning about them and helping anybody in any way I can,” he said.
His interests lie in history, reading and travelling and his favourite country is Italy. With a family background in commerce and the engineering industry, Father David, also has wide commercial experience alongside his knowledge of teaching.
His family live in the North East of England apart from his eldest brother George who lives in Canada, who travelled from there to Norfolk for Fr David’s installation as the Dean of the Cathedral of St John the Baptist last weekend (21st September).
Pic caption: The installation of Father David Paul as Dean of the RC Cathedral of St John the Baptist. Fr David is pictured, (centre), with (left) Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All Ireland and (right) Bishop Alan Hopes.

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