Deacon Bill Taylor was ordained Deacon on the Feast of Our Lady Immaculate, 8 December, 1993. The Diaconate was a new development in our Diocese and Bill was the first to apply.
A parishioner of St Paul’s, Cantley, in Doncaster, for many years, he was an airline pilot, going back to the days of BOAC, a profession that took him all over the world, and enabling him to make friends in many lands; they were usually missionaries, but one especially close to him was Mother Teresa of Calcutta. More importantly, he was married to Philomena, and together they brought up five children.
In 1991, Fr Pat Murphy, Parish Priest of St Paul’s, had a heart attack and, as he struggled for recovery, Bill felt moved to do something of practical help. Discerning a possible vocation, he embarked on a course of studies which would lead him to sacramental ordination as a Deacon. No easy thing when joined to his other duties and vocations! His reputation as a truly devoted deacon grew; his service at the altar and his performance of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy endeared him to everyone.
Cantley loved him, and when his Silver Jubilee of Ordination loomed, determined to do something to mark his years of service. “No fuss!” ordered Bill. “Just come to Mass.” But behind the seeming compliance, plots were afoot. Parishioners were secretly invited to make a spiritual bouquet, a financial gift and a specially made deacon’s stole, decorated with the Divine Mercy motif, Bill’s favourite devotion. Every kind of prayer, devotion and good work found mention as the presentation was made at the end of Mass. Groups of people can still be seen fulfilling their pledges. £1100 was contributed for their own personal choice of present. A brief sentence at the end of the list of gifts both spiritual and financial, says “Thank you, Deacon Bill and Philomena, for your fantastic help and support, from all current and past members of the parish.” It was a heartfelt ‘thank you’ from everyone.