Father Ben Woodley, was born in 1973 in London and for many years sung as a treble at St John’s, Hampstead. From the age of eleven he was educated at the Purcell School, a specialist music school, and then at the Royal College of Music and London University. Underpinning his musical studies was the notion, the intuition that this great language, music, had its true source in Another, in the loving and saving Author of all: Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament.
This deep truth eventually led him to be received into the Catholic Church from Anglicanism. In 2011 he started seminary formation for the Priesthood and was sent to the Venerable English College, Rome. The formation in Rome is normally seven years, his' lasted eight; year six (for nine months) was spent as a postulant at the Trappist Cistercian Monastery in Leicestershire, Mount Saint Bernard Abbey. This experience confirmed that his vocation to serve the Lord was utterly rooted, yes, in prayer but also to be lived out in the world, at the service of God’s people.
Sister Brigid Collins, our Parish Sister, has been associated with the parish for a good number of years now, in fact since she was 16 when she entered the convent of the Sisters of Mercy in Harewood Avenue. Sister Brigid looks after a great range of activities including the Union of Catholic Mothers, Parents and Toddlers' groups, the Youth Mercy Associates (our youth groups)..... the list could go on!
Martin Toyer was appointed Director of Music at the Church of Our Lady in Advent 2014, however, he has been singing and playing at our church since Christmas 1996. As a child, Martin was a chorister in Luton; his first appointment as Director of Music was when he was sixteen years old and he has been directing choirs ever since. Whilst studying at Oxford University, Martin was Organ Scholar and director of the chapel choir at Brasenose College. During his time at university, he performed as soloist, director and ensemble member for many groups around the city. Whilst the liturgy of Our Lady gives Martin plenty of opportunities to indulge in his passions for Bach's organ music, plainchant, and Renaissance polyphony, he also directs Ensemble 42, a small group of musicians who perform solo and ensemble works, exploring all genres of music from plainchant to lieder, from Baroque to modern opera. Martin is also busy as a singer, conductor, and accompanist in London.
Roger Rutuerma is one of our most important team members as he keeps the parish hall, offices and presbytery tidy for visitors and the staff. He has been with the parish for over twenty years now and knows the grounds and facilities very well. He is around the parish on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and we are all very blessed to have Roger amongst us.
Csaba Tarnai helps maintain the parish website. He holds an M.Sc. in computer science and is a certified photographer. He has been with our parish since 2015 when he and his family of five (Chiara, Claudia, Carlo, Caterina) transferred from Pisa to London. In his spare time he enjoys running, swimming, cycling and fitness.
Claudia McHugh is our Parish Administrator. With over 10 years in this role she is one of the most pastoral, knowledgeable, efficient and respected holders of this post in the Archdiocese. For her sins, she has worked with Fr Kevin in a previous parish.