A PARISH priest is preparing to celebrate 50 years since being ordained.

On February 21, Canon Michael Bayldon MA, of St Paulinus RC Church, Guisborough, is to celebrate his golden jubilee of 50 years since being ordained as a priest in 1970 by Bishop John Gerard McClean at St John of Beverley Church in Beverley.

Canon Bayldon, who prefers to be known as Fr Michael by his parishioners, has served in a variety of roles during his priesthood throughout North Yorkshire and Cleveland.

He was born in Bridlington in 1945, where his father was latterly a caterer and hotelier, and went to school in Beverley and boarding school at Ushaw.

Having decided that his future ahead lay with the Church, he went to the Seminary at Ushaw before being ordained in 1970. He spent some time as a Curate at St Alphonsus, North Ormesby, before moving to St Peter’s Church in Scarborough.

He gained a Master of Arts degree in Catholic theology from Maynooth College in Ireland, as well as a degree from the Open University Foundation Studies in Social Sciences.

Fr. Michael has been published various works on theology, history and education, as well as preparing and presenting religious programmes on TV and radio and involved in journals, such as Catholic Education Today.

He also had 11 years developmental work on Adult Formation packages in the 1970s and 1980s and said: “I have spent the best part of 30 years engaged in various forms of education and worked with many local authorities at the cutting edge of schooling reform in the Thatcher and Blair eras”.

In addition to parochial duties, he has been a hospital chaplain at Scarborough and a prison chaplain whilst at Yarm, and was head of the Diocesan Education Service for eight years

For some time, he was Director of Adult Formation in the Middlesbrough Diocese and spent more than 20 years being involved in diocesan education and schooling. He became Director of Education for Bishop John Crowley and was involved in the Northern Dioceses’ education syndicate until its dissolution, strengthening ties with Durham University until diocesan policies changed.

When the 1944 Education Act was replaced in 1988, he stepped down from involvement with schooling. He was appointed Canon of the Chapter Diocese of Middlesbrough in 1998.

Fr Michael was parish priest at St Mary and St Romuald, Yarm, from 1984-1995, and then parish priest at St Patrick’s, Thornaby, from 1995-1997. Fr Michael has been the parish priest at St Paulinus since 1997 when the church was situated in Park Lane, Guisborough.

One of Fr Michael’s major achievements has been to manage the building and provision of a new church for the parish at The Avenue, Guisborough.

Prior to 1997, the Catholic Church in Park Lane was in a very poor state of repair and Bishop John Crowley appointed Fr. Michael for the express purpose of replacing the facility so that the expanding town would have a suitable facility for the new Millennium.

The new church was completed and opened in December 2009, with the formal opening in May 2010. Fr Michael said: “Whilst the building may be physically impressive, it is to the community to which it witnesses that the honours should go. We follow our ministry as priests in the service of Christ and pledge to do our work.”

He added: “Much of my life has been devoted to the study of Sacred Scripture and the tasks of educating ourselves to know and understand the Word of God. However my life as a priest has been centred on an appointment to a parish but I have been privileged to address some of the needs of folk in the downside of life as a hospital chaplain in Scarborough and a prison chaplain in Yarm, where I had to connect with people in their most vulnerable times.

“It was unseen and usually very difficult work but much appreciated by those who received it. All through my life I have had the advantage of others sharing their experience and expertise in a wide range of tasks and duties.”