OXFORDSHIRE is set to embrace a new Catholic priest with a rather different background to usual clergymen.

Clive Dytor has joined St Teresa’s church in Charlbury as a deacon and is awaiting taking on the role of the priest for the parish.

However, as a married man with children and a background in the Royal Marines, Mr Dytor, 63, might not be the usual fit for the church.

In the Marines, he served in Belfast during the Troubles, in the South Atlantic during the Falklands War, and the Persian Gulf.

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After spending four years studying Arabic at Trinity College, Cambridge, Mr Dytor joined the Marines, aged 23.

He would stay with the Marines until he was 30, before pursuing training for the Church of England.

In 1986, he was awarded a degree in Theology by the Anglican Theological College, Oxford, and was received into the Catholic church in 1994.

He said: “On the Catholic side, it’s a very long selection process.

“Virtually all Catholic priests are not married so I had to go through a nine month application for dispensation from the Pope who has to sign it himself.

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“I had to do all the stuff I hadn’t done before like canon law, bioethics and specific Catholic things, which I really enjoyed.”

Mr Dytor then had to pass exams, some written and some oral.

He is now looking forward to taking on the role of priest at Charlbury after being ordained.

The ordainment is due to take place in July at St Chad’s cathedral, Birmingham.

However, the coronavirus pandemic may put a halt to that for now.

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Mr Dytor said: “I’m thinking its highly unlikely it will take place so I’m waiting to see what will happen.

“I’m currently a deacon at Teresa’s which is the last stage before becoming a priest.”

Mr Dytor, who has been a resident in West Oxfordshire for five years, can currently take charge of weddings, funeral and baptisms, but not mass or conversion.

“I’ve been really proud of how people have been helping each other during coronavirus,” he added.

“I’ve been phoning people up and chatting and emailing to see how they’re doing, I’m looking forward to getting started.”