Wednesday, 26 August 2015



John Paul Lyttle

JOHN PAUL LYTTLE, a former student priest for the Diocese of Down and Connor, was this year ordained both deacon and priest, in quick succession, by the Roman Bishop of Portsmouth, Phil Egan.

Philip Egan
I have never met John Paul Lyttle but by all accounts he is a nice and a good lad - even if he is somewhat immature or vulnerable.

Sadly for him when he was in Down and Connor diocese he was the victim of an attempted assault by the parish priest of Whitehouse - Father James Donaghy -

Father Donaghy

who later went on to be parish priest of Bangor and later still ended up in prison for the sexual abuse of various victims - including the Down and Connor priest, Father Paddy McCafferty.

Father Patrick McCafferty
John Paul Lyttle fled Down and Connor diocese - still wishing to be a priest and approached the then Roman Bishop of Portsmouth - Crispian Hollis.

Image result for Crispian hollis

Bishop Hollis sent John Paul Lyttle to the English seminary - Oscott College. Eventually there were some problems in Oscott involving staff members and seminarians.

Monsignor Crisp

The Rector of Oscott - Monsignor Mark Crisp - gave John Paul support and encouragement beyond the call of duty.

Bishop Hollis seemed anxious to keep John Paul on as a seminarian for Portsmouth but word among the clergy is that he was opposed in this proposal by the priests who form the "Diocesan Consultors". 

John Paul Left Oscott and spent some time with the Franciscan Order in Ireland and in Africa.

In 2009 John Paul had a very serious accident and the following account appeared in the local Hounslow and Chiswick newspapers.

Trainee priest shows signs of life after 20ft plunge

John Paul Lyttle (far left) with Bishop Philip Boyce and Benito Colangelo
John Paul Lyttle (far left) with Bishop Philip Boyce and Benito Colangelo

A trainee priest who plunged 20ft from a loft window, where he was smoking with three friends, has atonished doctors after showing signs of recovery.
John Paul Lyttle, 28, met the woman and two men, aged between 18 and 21, on Sunday night before they returned to the terraced house in Clifton Road, Isleworth, where he was staying with Reverend Ray Lyons.

Father Ray Lyons
Reverend Ray Lyons
His three pals told officers in a police interview that Mr Lyttle, a talented pianist who was studying for the Catholic priesthood, was sitting on the window ledge before he accidentally fell at about 4am, landing on a concrete patio.
Ambulance crews arrived to find Mr Lyttle with severe head and back injuries. He has been in a coma at Charing Cross hospital ever since, but is believed to have regained some awareness and sense of touch yesterday.
Rev Lyons, fighting back tears, said: “He is a young man of incredible faith, he is an inspiration. We’ve been contacted by people from across the globe, it’s astonishing.
“I have known him for almost 11 years since he started his road to the priesthood. I was his communications director for five years so we have an extremely close friendship.”
Rev Lyons, who has lived in Isleworth for 29 years and had been away at the weekend, said Mr Lyttle was talking to his friends about his faith before he fell.
Detective Inspector Alan Holford, of Hounslow Police, said: “We are still investigating the circumstances but it does appear to be a tragic incident rather than anything sinister. There is nothing to suggest he has been pushed at all.”
Mr Lyttle’s family, originally from Belfast, flew from Guernsey on Monday to be by his bedside along with friends and Rev Lyons.
Ben Colangelo, manager of the Ards Friary, in County Donegal, Ireland, where Mr Lyttle worked in 2007, said everyone at the centre was “absolutely devastated”.
He said: “He was my right hand man for a good many months. He was loved by everybody here, he is a very talented musician, very involved with the parish and the church. We just ask people for their prayers because he is in a critical situation.”
Mr Lyttle travelled to Zambia for six months in October 2007 to work with the poor, before returning to join the Montfort Missionaries of Mary in Southampton.
Mr Colangelo said: “He always wanted to serve the poor and work with the poor. He was there for just under a year and had a change of heart and realised he wanted to be a secular priest and applied to the archdiocese of Birmingham.”
Police cordoned off the building on Monday while officers spoke to neighbours and three other residents in the apartment block.
Det Insp Holford said police were treating the fall as an “unexplained incident,” and forensic officers were still carrying out tests.

Anyone with information should contact Hounslow CID on 0208 2476160, or Crimestoppers.

Anyway it looks as if John Paul, in various ways, and by various means, has managed to succeed in his desire to be a priest.

Does the pic below suggest that Bishop Egan is under threat:

John Paul Lyttle's eventual ordination to the priesthood is nothing short of an unexplained miracle. 


  1. It seems that notwithstanding the many obstacles in his path,some very traumatic, he has persisted and got to ordination. Ad miltos annos !

    1. John Paul has certainly being resourceful on his journey. He has used all his talents and pulled out all the stops. Retired Cleric D&C

  2. Was John Paul ever a student for D&C ?

    1. He was. He entered The Wing at St Malachy's in 1999 and stayed one year.

  3. Another rumour circulating among the clergy chattering classes tonight about a priest in West Belfast being told to make up his mind. The diocese or the dames !! Wonder who could that be?

    1. Damned if he does, and dammed if he doesn't!

    2. The fact that he is STILL being asked to make up his mind says it all. The decision should be made for him.

  4. Well done J P jr. How strange it is that some sort of sexual proposition appears to be part and parcel of the journey to priesthood these days. I must say I never encountered anything out of the ordinary from colleagues or superiors in my student or ministry days. That being said the parish house in sligo was not a healthy place to be a young priest

  5. Oh dear. Sounds like the priest with a choice to make might find himself between the Rock and the hard place !!!

    1. Or even between two rocks and the hard place!

  6. Apologies if my following comment is seen as a simplistic analysis, but I honestly believe there are so many issues around sexuality and priesthood because so few Priests have received the charism of celibacy.
    The Church tells us that the call of priesthood and the call of Celibacy are always received together. I see less & less evidence of this in my own diocese.

    Priest of Down & Connor.

  7. Well done, John Paul - and many long years to you. You recovered from a terrible accident and escaped numerous dangers on your way to the priesthood. May God guide you.

    1. Yes John Paul, You even escaped the clutches of predator (in various ways) priests and bishops. Former D&C Seminarian.