JOHN GILBERT Parish Priest 2004- 2020 Eleventh Parish Priest, the first with prison experience! Fr John was born in 1960 in Stoke-on-Trent.. He trained for the priesthood at Osterley and Oscott Colleges and was ordained in 1989. He then spent eighteen months as a curate at Redditch followed by three and a half years at the Cathedral in Birmingham. He then spent five years as Parish priest of Ashmore Park, Wolverhampton where he was part time Chaplain to Featherstone Prison. This was followed by five years as a full time chaplain to 3 prisons, housing some 1500 inmates at Blakenhurst, Brockhill and Hewell Grange – all in Worcestershire. He was appointed: Parish Priest of St Gregory’s, Longton in Spring 2004 moving into the presbytery on 19 March, the Feast of St Joseph. Appointed Dean of North Staffs Deanery in 2016 Caretaker Administrator for 7 Parishes during Summer 2016 Parish Priest of Our Lady’s, Fenton and St Maria Goretti, Bentilee in 2016 alongside St Gregory’s. Appointed Canon of the Metropolitan Cathedral in 2017
During his ministry : Seen the opening of the newly formed St Gregory’s Primary School in Autumn 2004(amalgamation of the infant and junior school) and subsequent opening and extension of the new building. Chaplain to St Gregory’s Primary (now Academy) and introduced retreats to Alton Castle Chaplain to St Thomas More High School(now Academy) and introduced the Lay Chaplain Role, Introduced the pilgrimage on to the Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes and Vocation Days. And from 2016 chaplain also to Our Lady’s & St Maria Goretti Accademies
Promoted World Youth Day with Parish representatives going to Australia, Brazil and Poland.
Developed annual Pilgrimage opportunities for parishioners including the Annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes
Developed the Spirituality of the Parish through -‘Journey in Faith’, ‘Echoes’ and Sacramental Preparation for children attending non Catholic Schools.
Developed the role of Catechists in the Parish by working with the Deanery and Maryvale to bring the two year Catechists programme to North Staffs.
Overseen the closure of The Good Shepherd Parish in Blurton and the incorporation of its parishioners into St Gregory’s.
Introduced the Annual Mass for parishioners who have died during the year. Introduced the Annual Mass including Sacrament of the Sick around the feast of St Gregory Introduced the Advent and Lenten Service of Reconciliation together with other local parishes.
Developed the social aspect of parish activities including the development of the Parish Garden where annual parish barbecue and hog roasts took place.
At a Diocesan level: MC to the Holy Father’s Mass for the Beatification of John Henry Newman in Birmingham Seccretary to The Johnson Association Member of the Ongoing Formation Committee & Council of Priests