FR PAUL OWENS has received his induction as principal Roman Catholic Chaplain to the Royal Air Force.
The ceremony took place at a Mass at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire.
The Principal Chaplain is the most senior Catholic Chaplain in the RAF and is also a vicar-general for the Bishopric of the Forces.
Fr Owens, who has the rank of Wing Commander, was inducted by Bishop Richard Moth, Bishop of the Forces. The bishop said: “At the present time, there has never been a greater need for a forces’ chaplains.” Fr Owens, a native of Halifax and a priest of the Diocese of Leeds, joined the RAF as a chaplain in 1990. He has served in Germany, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Falkland Islands, as well as various RAF postings in Britain. He is a keen supporter of Leeds United and enjoys cooking, good food, good wine, travel and the opera.
The Royal Air Force provides opportunities for recreation but there is one experience Fr Owens will not be repeating.
“Soon after I joined the RAF,” he said, “I was almost put off flying for life when I went up for a glider flight with an experienced glider pilot.
“When the weather changed from beautiful clear skies to thunder and lightning, the pilot tried to settle me down by saying in all his time of gliding he had never experienced such an event. It did not have the effect of calming me down. I was glad when we landed and have never been up in a glider since.” Speaking of his RAF service Fr Owens said: “It is hard to believe that it is some 20 years since I joined the RAF.”