Dominic Robinson SJ
I was born in 1967 in Lancaster. I grew up in Cumbria in the north-west of England and was educated there in Anglican and Catholic schools before going on to undergraduate studies at St Andrew’s University in Scotland. Growing up in a typical northern Catholic parish and in a Catholic family, I had a positive experience of Church and of priests in whose lives I could see icons of service for the good of others. Considering the possibility of the priestly vocation, I received what in hindsight was good advice from a wise priest, to “take the plunge”. At university, however, I was introduced to the Spiritual Exercises and, through discovering God in the everyday, was able to discern more carefully where I might be being called, among different possibilities, to make a commitment. Getting to know the spirituality and history of the Jesuits, I was increasingly attracted to the Society through the call to a varied set of ministries, to educational and intellectual work, to the identification of faith with the fight for justice and dialogue with culture, to the international mission of the Society, and by the witness of Jesuits in the past, especially the martyrs, and the wise humanity of Jesuits I met. As a result I found myself compelled to try out my vocation by making a commitment to enter formation. Following a ‘gap year’ working with a company running pilgrimages mainly to Lourdes and Rome, I entered the Society in 1991.
I am currently parish priest at our central London Church - the Immaculate Conception, better known as Farm Street. My responsibility at Farm Street is to lead a Jesuit and lay team serving a city centre ministry which attracts a large and very diverse group of people. The work is challenging but rewarding as it strives to respond in a multiplicity of ways to the call to accompany people of today in faith in the midst of the modern city. Above all I feel we are still on the right track if we are truly a community which opens its doors as a welcoming community to all. We certainly have new challenges to respond to as we work together with Christians and others to welcome those on the margins and who are leaving the Church. As the Jesuit church in the heart of London we hope and pray that our faith in Jesus Christ truly present in all things inspires us to grow as a community of welcome to all at the service of others. In addition to my main job at Farm Street I am also director of Landings, the programme for returning Catholics, in the UK, whose base is in the Parish. I also teach Theology to students for the priesthood at Allen Hall Seminary, am the ecclesiastical assistant to Aid to the Church in Need, the charity which works for persecuted Christians and religious freedom, and serve on a number of ecumenical bodies involved in theological dialogue and sharing.