Our new parish priest writes to introduce himself.
Hi everyone! I am John Anthony Lee.
I was born in Neasden, NW London, in 1959. I am son of Patrick and Cathy who hail from Limerick and Cork, Ireland. I am the eldest of five. I lost my younger sister Ann to cancer in 2004 and a baby brother Mark who was stillborn. I am a proud uncle to three nieces and two nephews.
I spent my childhood and adolescence growing up in Kilburn. After leaving school in 1977 I worked for a high street bank. I also worked as a barman at our Parish Centre. In 1982 I discerned a vocation to religious life – I entered the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate – and moved to Dublin to begin training for the priesthood. In 1989 I was ordained a deacon and then moved to Edinburgh where I ministered for eight years. I was ordained to the priesthood on 3rd March 1990. During my time in Edinburgh, I worked in parish ministry. Also, I was involved with schools and hospitals as a chaplain. For four of the eight years I was a chaplain to the HIV / AIDS Community in Edinburgh. Rewarding but challenging work. I completed a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies in 1996.
In 1998 I received my first Parish Priest appointment and was moved to Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, West Kilburn, London where I stayed until 2004. I was then appointed Parish Priest to St Joseph’s Parish, Christchurch, where I was based until 2014. During that time, we re-ordered the Parish site and constructed a new Parish Centre which continues to thrive. Again, I was involved in hospital ministry and was appointed Coordinating Pastor by Bishop Crispian Hollis for the Avon Stour Pastoral Area.
In 2010, I left religious life and was incardinated into the Diocese of Portsmouth. Around this time, I completed a degree in Healthcare Chaplaincy at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. In August 2014 I was appointed Parish Priest to St Joseph’s, Maidenhead and remained there until October 2021. I have been on sabbatical leave this year. Between January and April, I took part in a Sabbatical Program for Clergy at the Institute for Continuing Theological Education located in Rome. It was a wonderful three months!
I hold other responsibilities within the Diocese. I am Chair of the Council of Priests and a Consultor to our Bishop. Also, I am Clergy Advisor for Safeguarding. I have also been appointed Coordinating Pastor for Hampshire Northwest.
I support Arsenal and London Irish rugby club. I enjoy films and theatre. I love music. I am a fan of 80s’ Brit Pop band Level 42! If you see me wandering around in a leather jacket know that I am off to a Level 42 gig! I like to cook and while in Rome I learnt how to make a Negroni cocktail. Very useful!
I am looking forward to getting to know my new parish family.