Canon Roger Taylor – Rector
Fr Roger read law at Oxford and practised for a time at the Bar. He spent most of his working life, however, pursuing his passion for opera, working in the management of some of the UK’s opera and ballet companies. During this time he converted to the Faith and entered the Cistercian monastery of Mount St Bernard in Leicestershire. He then applied to the diocese of Westminster and was sent to the Beda College in Rome, studying theology at the Angelicum and undertaking further studies, with a dissertation on Marian dogma in Catholic-Methodist dialogue. He has served as Assistant in the parishes of St George, Sudbury and St Francis de Sales, Tottenham and as Parish Priest at St Monica, Palmers Green, prior to coming to Allen Hall as Vice-rector in 2008. He took up his new responsibilities as Rector in December 2013.
Father Michael O’Boy – Vice-rector and Dean of Studies
Of Anglo-Irish descent, Fr Michael was born in Camden in 1968. He attended St Aloysius Infants and Junior schools in Somers Town before moving to Finchley, where he was a pupil at Our Lady of Lourdes and Bishop Douglass Secondary Schools. Following undergraduate studies at York, and post-graduate studies in Reformation History at Cambridge, he trained for the priesthood at Allen Hall. Ordained priest in 2000, his ministry began at Our Lady Help of Christians, Kentish Town. In 2002 he moved to Westminster Cathedral, where he served as Sub-administrator 2003-2006. In 2006 he was appointed Director of the Diocesan Agency for Evangelisation which had oversight of four areas of diocesan life: Catechetics, Small Communities, Adult Faith Formation and Youth Provision. In 2011 he became Parish Priest of St Aloysius, Somers Town, retaining Evangelisation responsibilities until 2012, and for the Diocese’s Youth provision until July 2013. He returned to Allen Hall as Dean of Studies in September 2013, and has served as Vice-rector since January 2014. He has also been a diocesan MC and a member of the diocesan and national liturgical committees.
Canon Charles Acton – Theological Advisor Emeritus
Canon Charles was born in Much Wenlock, Shropshire in 1943 and migrated to Southern Rhodesia in 1947 where he was schooled at St George’s College, Salisbury from 1952-1959. He then worked as a journalist on, successively, the Rhodesia Herald, the Umtali Post, the Times of Malta, and the Tablet from 1959-62. Having studied for the priesthood at Allen Hall, Ware, 1962-5, and then at the Venerable English College, Rome, 1965-69, he was ordained priest for the Westminster Diocese in 1968, to serve as Curate at Our Lady of Victories, Kensington 1969-71. Having been a post-graduate student at the Gregorian University, Rome, he was appointed as a member of staff (Theology and Dean of Studies) at Allen Hall, Ware and after its move to Chelsea, 1974-1999. Subsequent work has included being a Theology lecturer at the International Franciscan Study Centre, Canterbury, 1999-2004 and a member of the International Theological Commission. A Canon of Westminster Cathedral, he has again been a member of staff at Allen Hall since 2004 and Dean of Studies 2004-2013.
Father Francesco Donega – Formation Advisor
Born in Venice in 1957, he became involved with his family in the Neocatechumenal Way. Initially studying Medicine at the University of Padua, he felt called to devote himself to evangelisation as a lay itinerant catechist of the Way. After time in Southern Italy, in 1977 he was sent to Africa, first to Democratic Republic of Congo and then Kenya and Tanzania. During ten years spent in Africa, his vocation as a missionary priest emerged and matured. Joining the Redemptoris Mater Diocesan Missionary Seminary in Rome in 1987, he completed his STB at the Gregorian University and in 1992 was ordained priest for the Diocese of Rome. Cardinal Ruini invited him to continue as a formation assistant in the seminary, while helping out in various parishes and completing studies at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute S. Anselmo, where he graduated SLL in 1994. That year he came to London, taking charge of the Redemptoris Mater House of Formation, which had begun to take shape three years earlier in Westminster. He began teaching liturgy at Allen Hall in 1996, also lecturing in Sacramental Theology since 2004. he has been part of Allen Hall Formation Staff since 2002.
Father Michael Doyle – Formation Advisor
Fr Michael is a priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. He did undergraduate work at Heythrop College, London and then went to Rome, where he studied at both the Angelicum and Gregorian Universities. He obtained an S.T.L in Spirituality from the Gregorian. Following priestly ordination by Pope St John Paul II in 1979, he pursued studies in Psychology at the Universities of San Francisco, Stanford and the California School of Professional Psychology. In 1991 he graduated with a PhD in Clinical Psychology, becoming a member of the British Psychological Society in 1993 and practising as a chartered clinical psychologist. Since the completion of his professional studies Fr. Michael has worked in a number of Church-sponsored organizations as a priest who happens also to be a psychologist. More recently he has been concentrating on working in seminary formation. Last year he stepped down from the formation staff of Oscott College, where he had served for fourteen years. He has also worked as a part-time lecturer and formation conference provider at the Venerable English College, Rome. For ten years, he was a parish priest in his own diocese. This is his second period on the formation staff of Allen Hall. Presently he combines work on the formation team at Allen Hall with weekend ministry in a parish of the Archdiocese of Birmingham.
Father John Hemer MHM – Formation Advisor
Born in inner city Liverpool in 1957, Fr John studied for priesthood first of all at Upholland and then in the Netherlands and London. Ordained priest for the Mill Hill Missionaries in 1983, he worked as a missionary in Pakistan, involved in primary evangelisation. Moving to Africa, he became Parish Priest of a huge rural parish in Kenya and did two spells in Uganda, one in a mission and one teaching in a seminary, following this with a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome 1992-96.
Having taught at the Missionary Institute in London for ten years he is now on the staff at Allen Hall, having also been part-time lecturer in Scripture at Oscott College, the seminary for Birmingham diocese. He lectures occasionally at the seminary at Wonersh and at Heythrop College. Over the years he has given retreats, lectures and courses in many places in some 47 parishes in Westminster diocese and in 14 other dioceses around the country, whilst his international schedule has included Italy, Holland, Kenya, Uganda, USA, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Pakistan, Austria, The Holy Land and Norway.
Sister Bernadette Hunston SCSJA – Formation Team
Sr Bernadette belongs to the Sisters of Charity of St Jeanne Antide, a Congregation founded in 1799 by St Jeanne in Besancon, France with a Vincentian spirit. The Congregation is now present in 29 countries, always for the love of the Church and the advancement of peoples. Graduating from University College, Dublin in English Sr Bernadette was a postgraduate at London University, gaining an MTh in Pastoral Theology and, subsequently, a Pastoral Diploma (Vatican II Documents and Canon Law) at the Franciscan Study Centre, Kent. She has taught at the Rulla School, Ireland, assisted with Priestly Formation at the Catholic University in Chicago, and with Spiritual Direction in Wales. More recent posts have included teaching English Literature and Language in schools based in Ealing, Highgate and Forest Gate. She has been at Allen Hall as a member of the Formation Team since 2000 and a lecturer in Spiritual Theology and Pastoral Theology since 1995.
Father Mehall Lowry – Formation Advisor
Fr Mehall was educated in Finchley at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School and then Bishop Douglass Catholic High School. Joining the Metropolitan Police, he served for six years from 1979-1985 before leaving to follow a vocation to the priesthood. After studies at Allen Hall he was ordained priest by Cardinal Hume at St Mary’s, East Finchley. Since then he has served in five parishes before moving to his present post as Parish Priest of Holy Cross, Parsons Green. In addition to his parochial responsibilities he serves as the Cardinal’s representative on the Board of Trustees of Marriage Care and also undertakes liaison with the Metropolitan Police on behalf of the diocese of Westminster.
Father William Nicol – Pastoral Director
Born in the North East of England, Fr William worked in the financial sector before joining the Anglican Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield, West Yorkshire as a lay brother. After 17 years in the Community and serving as its Prior, and after much thought and prayer, he decided to leave. He was received into the Catholic Church at St Mary of the Angels, Bayswater. As a layman there he ran the Fr Michael Hollings Drop-In Centre for the Homeless by day and was an Usher at the Royal Opera House by night. His seminary formation began in 2005 at the Beda College in Rome, with Diaconate at St Paul’s Outside the Walls in 2008 and Priesthood at Bayswater in 2009. Since then he has served as Assistant in Kingsland parish, before becoming Parish Priest of Wapping.
Sister Magdalen O’Neill IBVM – Formation Team
Sr Magdalen was born and brought up in St. Albans, where her father had founded St. Columba’s College in 1939. After secondary education at Loreto College, St. Albans she entered the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary [commonly called Loreto]. Sent to read Classics at the University of Manchester [B.A. and M.A.], much of her life has been spent teaching in Loreto’s secondary schools, including posts as Deputy Head in Nottingham, Headmistress in Altrincham and Principal in Loreto Sixth Form College, Manchester. She returned to teach Classics at St. Albans and, after retirement, she was asked to teach Greek and Latin at Heythrop College. On retiring from there, she came to teach Latin at Allen Hall and eventually to take on some other duties. Outside this career other activities have included a welcome and enjoyable Sabbatical year in the School of Applied Theology in Berkeley California; five months in 1979 as a volunteer in the Holy Land, working for the Pontifical Mission and in the Bethlehem Arab Society Rehabilitation Home for Children; and a College vacation spent in Nairobi, working both in Hope House which looks after abandoned babies, in Loreto’s primary school in Kangemi slums and in Nyumbani, Loreto’s home for children with AIDS.
Canon Stuart Wilson – Spiritual Director
A few years ago, someone asked me what job I would like to do if I was given a choice. I said without much thinking: Spiritual Director at the Seminary. Dreams come true; now that role is mine! I have to say it was a surprise when the Cardinal asked me to do this work but it was not a shock.
I come to the Seminary after 40 years of parish work where , please God, I have learned something about how things tick. Now it is my chance to use this experience as the service of our Seminarians. For 20 years I was an Anglican priest but for the last 19 years I have loved working in the Diocese of Westminster as a Catholic Priest. I have served in 5 parishes in the Diocese- from Clapton to Chelsea. I spent three years leading the Renewal Programme: At Your Word, Lord. More recently it has been my privilege to Chair the Westminster Caritas Advisory Board.
I trust all this will make me useful to those whom God has called me to serve.