The Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. John Batthula, is the ninth incumbent to hold that title in the seventy years since the Parish of the Immaculate Conception was created. He took charge at the end of August 2013 and was formally inducted as parish priest by Canon Mervin Tower, the Dean of Banbury, on Friday, 4th October (left and below). Highly thought of, and missed, in his former parish of St.Peter and St. Paul in Pype Hayes in Birmingham, he was well supported by his former parishioners at the Induction Mass. Ordained to the sacred priesthood on the 10th of March 1992, Fr. John had previously served at Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Therese of Lisieux, Saltley in Birmingham, St. Elizabeth in Coventry and Our Lady and St. Hubert in Warley. Of unmistakably Indian background the feet of his new parishioners have not touched the ground since he arrived. He arrived as not a total stranger to Bicester – he had paid “blink and you missed me” visit during the incumbency of Rev. Fr. Aldo Tapparo.
One of his accomplishments has been the setting up of The Batthula Care Trust which seeks to help lepers, the poor and elderly through the provision of work, education, medical aid and accommodation for people in India who would otherwise be deprived of these necessities of life.