Supporting the Diocesan Vision and building on the outcomes of the Synodal journey are key priorities for the new team working from the Vocations Office.

The team, under the leadership of Fr Craig Szmidt, are based at the Diocesan Vocations Office in the grounds of St Mary’s College, Oscott and are on hand to support all across the Archdiocese.

Deacon Owen Gresty is the new Diocesan Promoter for Vocations. His focus is to develop and foster a culture of vocations. He will support parishes and deaneries, schools and universities.

“We are at the beginning of a new journey - a new team working together. We have so much to develop for the mission of the Church,” said Deacon Owen, who assists at Holy Trinity Parish in Sutton Coldfield and has worked in the Vocations Office for almost four years.

“Have you thought about where God is calling you? Married, single, deacon, priest, religious – that is the culture of vocation.

“We will be making even more resources available to support people in discerning their vocation.”

Natalie Orefice, Diocesan Advisor for Formation and Mission, has worked for the Archdiocese for seven years and is a parishioner at St Chad and All Saints Catholic Church, Sedgley.

In her new role, she will be supporting the ongoing formation of clergy alongside Fr Craig and developing formation for the lay faithful.

“Our recent Synodal ‘Walking Together’ journey highlighted that people are eager to be formed in the Archdiocese,” said Natalie. “They are hungry for spiritual and intellectual formation.

“Support should not just be for sacramental preparation but there to enhance people’s spiritual lives at every stage.

“Formation is for everybody, at every stage of their spiritual journey, in every parish.”

Paul Northam, newly-appointed Diocesan Advisor for Evangelisation and Marriage & Family Life, has also worked for the Archdiocese for seven years and is a parishioner at Our Lady of Good Counsel and St Gregory the Great in Bearwood.

“We want to help people encounter Christ and embrace the mission of the Church,” said Paul.

“It is time to reflect on what we have done and where we are going. We, the team, are in a period of discernment too, what does the Holy Spirit want us to do?”

Paul hopes the new team will be able to accompany people on their continuing faith journey, and all three are eager to serve the faithful of the Archdiocese to become true missionary disciples.

The new-look team is:

Fr Craig Szmidt - Vocations Director and Director for Ongoing Formation of Clergy
Deacon Owen Gresty - Diocesan Promoter for Vocations
Natalie Orefice - Diocesan Advisor for Formation and Mission
Paul Northam - Diocesan Advisor for Evangelisation and Marriage & Family Life
Kathryn Bayliss - PA to the Vocations Director and Diocesan Administrator Guild of St Stephen

Contact the Vocations Team

Pictured: Natalie Orefice, Deacon Owen Gresty, Paul Northam.

Our Diocesan Vision:

We are called to be a Catholic diocese which is:
faithful to the mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ
full of missionary disciples who work together co-responsibly
in vibrant communities of faith,
joyful in their service of God and neighbour.

Our Diocesan Vision, Unfolding God's Plan