On a warm summer’s evening in the historic town of Arundel in its Cathedral one of its parishioners, Deacon Tristan Cranfield was ordained a priest by Bishop Richard Moth for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arundel & Brighton on Friday 20th July 2018.
A full cathedral saw him ordained for service in the church in Surrey and Sussex. He was joined not only by his parents Michael and Lorraine but also many friends from across the Diocese and elsewhere. Bishop Richard was joined by over 50 priests who welcomed Tristan as a brother priest.
Father Tristan, as he can now be called, was born in Shoreham-by-Sea and raised in and around Arundel. He attended St Philip Howard’s Catholic Primary School in Arundel, before moving to St Philip Howard Catholic School in Barnham at the age of 11, where he also eventually attended the Sixth Form.
His parents, Michael and Lorraine still live in the Arundel area, where they have been heavily involved in the life of the Cathedral in many different aspects: from the choir, reading and catechesis, to charity work and helping out with the cleaning and volunteering the shop. Both are now retired, but remain familiar faces in the town; Lorraine served there as the District Nurse there for a large part of her working life, whereas Michael spent much of it in Chichester, as a solicitor and more recently as manager of the classical music suppliers, Bastow’s Classics.
Tristan was baptised as a baby by the then parish priest, Canon Anthony Whale (RIP) in Arundel Cathedral. Tristan became an altar server at Mass in the Cathedral, and at the age of ten joined the then newly founded children’s section of the choir, where he learnt to sing, to play the organ and indeed to pray. His involvement in the liturgical life of the Cathedral undoubtedly played a big part in nourishing his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
After completing his school studies, he deepened his passion for languages, reading Arabic and French at St John’s College, Oxford. This led to some time living in Damascus, Syria, as well as many travels during and after university. He spent a year living in Istanbul before moving to London, where he worked as a freelance translator and briefly as a personal assistant in a Middle Eastern law firm.
The call to the priesthood remained persistent in Tristan’s life, shaped by his experiences of the Church around the world, by his time in London and by regular participation in the Arundel & Brighton diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes, which he has been involved with since his teenage years. A final awakening to this call came at the Grotto in Lourdes where Our Lady appeared to St Bernadette which encouraged him to approach the diocese about priesthood.
Following the usual selection process, he was sent by Bishop Kieran Conry to the Venerable English College in Rome. There his philosophical and theological studies (at both the Angelicum and Gregorian universities respectively) culminated in a Licence (Masters equivalent degree) in the teachings of St Thomas Aquinas. He was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Terrence Drainey in July 2017 in Rome.
Fr Tristan now begins the next stage of his life as priest in a parish saying Mass, visiting the sick, working with young people, celebrating funerals and baptisms, visiting local schools and much more. Fr Tristan said: “I do not feel worthy to have been ordained a priest, but I know that the Lord Jesus will be with me always in His love, to carry out His work in the Church.”
He continued, “The ordination Mass was deeply moving for me, a moment of great joy, and I’m excited to begin my ministry, looking forward to serving the people of Arundel & Brighton for the rest of my life.”
At his ordination, Bishop Richard reminded Fr Tristan, as a person grounded in the love of family and God, to be at the service of the people as a minister of word and sacrament, and said to him “Be an effective and joyful priest in service of Christ and his Church!”
The ordination was followed by a wonderful reception in the Arundel Castle Barons’ Hall, at the kind invitation of the Duke of Norfolk, where Fr Tristan was warmly received by family, friends, clergy and parishioners.
By: Diocese of Arundel & Brighton