Galashiels priest's long journey from radio waves to ordination day

From radio waves to sailing the world a newly-ordained Galashiels priest took a circuitous but ultimately fulfilling route to the altar.

By Paul Kelly
Sunday, 18th July 2021, 4:22 pm
Father Bobby on his ordination day with Archbishop Cushley, his sister Louise and mum Helen. (Photo: Paul McSherry)
Father Bobby on his ordination day with Archbishop Cushley, his sister Louise and mum Helen. (Photo: Paul McSherry)

Father Bobby Taylor was ordained by Archbishop Leo Cushley on Tuesday, June 29 at Our Lady and St Andrews Church in his hometown, following seven years of studies at Pontifical Scots College in Rome.

But his route to the priesthood was far from a simple one after first working as a Radio Borders DJ, followed by years in the Merchant Navy.

It was on one particular trip while departing from Melbourne, Australia that Father Bobby decided the time had come to follow a long-nurtured feeling that the priesthood was for him.

Spinning discs.

It’s a decision he has not regretted and Father Bobby now looks forward to taking up a position in a parish next year.

He said: "I was always involved in the parish here in Galashiels and served from an early age on the altar. Probably I first really thought of it was when I was 13, 14 years of age and it kept coming back.

"I first followed another dream that I had, which was to work in radio and I worked at Radio Borders for about ten years, doing a bit of everything. I was on air and in the office, helped the sales team, organising sport. I was main cover on air during the week and also had a Saturday morning breakfast show.

"The recession came along in about 2008 and I’d been put on a management course to train me up for the future but that got cancelled and there wasn’t much happening so I decided to try something else and went into the Merchant Navy, and trained at the nautical college in Glasgow for three years and worked at sea for four years.

A naval life.

"Then one time I was sailing out of Melbourne and I just had a feeling that I needed to go through with what I had thought about for years and find out more about the priesthood. It was really just now or never to find out if this is what I was being called to do and here I am seven or eight years later.

"I wouldn’t change any of it. There are things I have learned from radio and at sea that have helped me better understand that this was what I was meant to do, but also gave me basic life skills and experience.”

The former Galashiels Academy pupil has had the full support of his family.

He said: "My dad Charles died before I went to seminary. He wasn’t Catholic but was always supportive of my mum Helen and myself as practising Catholics and my mum has always been supportive of whatever I’ve wanted to do.”

Father Bobby on his ordination day. (Photo: PAUL McSHERRY)

Father Bobby, 37, added: “Over the summer I’ve got a few places to go and cover other priests’ holidays, then I go back to Rome in September to finish off my studies, a post-graduate course, and then next summer I’ll come back fully qualified and I’ll be given a position in a parish somewhere in the diocese by the archbishop and after that hopefully it’s many years of ministry.”

Father Martin Eckersley, Jedburgh, also recently ordained, with Father Bobby Taylor, Galashiels at Jedburgh's St Mary's Catholic Church. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)