Father Jonathan was ordained a priest on June 12th 1976 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Ashby-de-la-Zouch by Bishop James McGuinness with Bishop Ellis concelebrating.
Born on 22nd June 1950 in Nottingham, he was baptised at St. Paul’s Church, Lenton and, as he attended the Sacred Heart Convent Primary School, Mapperley, [where St. Augustine’s Primary School is now situated] he celebrated first Confession, first Holy Communion and Confirmation at St. Augustine’s Church, Woodborough Road, Nottingham, before moving as a boarder to Grace Dieu Manor School in 1960 and Ratcliffe College in 1964.
In 1968, Bishop Ellis accepted Jonathan as a Church Student for the Diocese of Nottingham. To broaden his experience of life, Jonathan spent the next two years in a variety of activities which included working as a volunteer in a Children’s Home [C.S.V.], an English Guide in the Catecombes of San Sebastiano, Rome, in a biscuit factory in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, as a door-to-door salesman in Nottingham [Kleeneezee] and several months on the family pig farm [now the Champneys Springs Health Farm].
During this time he helped to establish an annual summer work camp in the shanty towns round Rome, Italy, for sixth formers from Ratcliffe College working alongside Mother Teresa’s Sisters and Brothers. He trained for priesthood at St. Joseph’s College, Upholland and has served in the Diocese at the Cathedral [1975-1984], as Vocations Director based first in St. Hugh’s College, Tollerton [1984-1985], then at The Briars Youth Centre [1985-1989], as Parish Priest in St. Joseph’s, Matlock with St. Teresa’s, Wirksworth [1989-1995], relinquishing Vocations Ministry in 1992.
He was appointed as first Dean of the Amber Valley Deanery in 1994, then freed by Bishop McGuinness in January 1995 to work full time in the Nottingham Pilgrims Community which he started with Sister Angela Murphy, P.B.V.M. in 1989 as, initially, part of Vocations Ministry in the Diocese, but eventually in 2001 to become an independent Charity, The Pilgrims Community. The resident Community closed in July 2007 but the Charity continues to support evangelisation work in the Church.
At different times Fr. Jonathan was the Catholic representative for Radio Trent religious programmes and occasional reporter; he started the TORCH Drama Society at the Cathedral; he sat on the Committee for Ministerial Formation of the Bishop’s Conference; St. Joseph’s Primary School opened in Matlock when he was parish priest and he was Chair of Governors, and was also a Governor at St. Mary’s High School, Chesterfield.
During a sabbatical in 2001-2002, he trained in prayer ministry, retreat giving, and spiritual direction. Currently, he is a member of the Diocesan Vocations Commission.
During 2007-2008, he spent time writing material connected with his time with the Nottingham Pilgrims Community and was based in the Presbytery at Barton-upon-Humber.
He was appointed Parish Priest in St. Joseph’s, Shirebrook in September 2008.
On Thursday16th June 2011, Fr. Jonathan was installed as a Chapter Canon at Nottingham Cathedral.
Bishop Malcolm writes that this appointment: “…would be worthy recognition of your many years of service as a priest in our Diocese, and your hard work as Parish Priest of the Parish of St. Joseph in Shirebrook.”
The Chapter meets at the Cathedral four times a year and its deliberations are in secret. It acts as one of the advisory bodies for the Bishop.