By Jamie O’Brien
The Archdiocese of Perth has last weekend gained the service of six men to the order of Priesthood during a monumental celebration at St Mary’s Cathedral.
More than 1300 people gathered for the priestly ordination of Fr Joseph Laundy, Fr Kenneth Acosta Garcia, Fr Konrad Gagatek, Fr Patricio Carrera Morales, Fr Mariusz Grzech and Fr Tung Vu.
The Ordination Mass on Friday 17 November was celebrated by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB and concelebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey, Vicar General the Very Rev Fr Peter Whitely VG, St Mary’s Cathedral Dean Mgr Michael Keating, Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, the Very Rev Mgr Harry Entwistle PA, St Charles Seminary Rector Fr Phillip Fleay, Redemptoris Mater Seminary Rector Fr Michael Moore SM, Deacon Mark Rucci and Frs Peter Bianchini, Vincent Glynn, Conor Steadman and Brennan Sia as MC’s.
Bishop Joseph Dang Duc Ngan of Da Nang Diocese, from where Fr Tung Vu originally hails, also travelled to Perth to concelebrate for the occasion.
Some 200 priests from across the Perth, Bunbury, Broome and Geraldton diocese also concelebrated for the occasion. Several priests from overseas were also present to concelebrate and witness the ordination of the men from their diocese.
In his homily for the occasion, Archbishop Costelloe spoke about the role of ordained ministry, explaining that through the labours (of ordained clergy), God’s people are enabled to bear fruit, which the Lord wishes to bring to fullness in his Church and in his world.
“This gift of a vocation to the ministerial priesthood – and it is indeed a beautiful and precious gift – is given not so much for the priest himself, but for all those who will be drawn through the priest’s life and ministry into an ever deeper relationship of love for and commitment to the Lord,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
The newly ordained men, whose stories will feature in The eRecord over several weeks, hail from several nations, including Australia (Joseph Laundy) Poland (Mariusz Grezch and Konrad Gagatek), Vietnam (Tung Vu), Dominican Republic (Kenneth Acosta Garcia) and Guatemala (Patricio Carrera Morales).
Continuing his homily for the occasion about the role of ordained ministry, Archbishop Costelloe said all ordained ministers must remember that the whole people of God is a priestly people.
“As the prayer of consecration puts it, men are chosen by God for the ordained ministry so that through them we will all be enabled to be together the priestly people we are called to be,” he said.
Our Catholic tradition, continued Archbishop Costelloe, has always known that God loves the world he has created, and that God wishes to encounter us in and through the things, and especially the people, he has created.
“This is why the Lord gives us sacraments as the privileged way of encountering him.”
“…And through the laying on of hands and the prayer of consecration, we are given new priests, who are empowered by God to be living signs that the Lord has not abandoned his Church and that he continues to be with us as our shepherd and one true priest.
“Through their lives and their ministry, our priests are God’s unique gift to his Church to remind us that we rely not on ourselves or on each other, but rather on the one whose living presence as our shepherd our priests are called to be.”
As part of the Ordination, family members and friends of the new priests also played a special part, presenting new vestments and the chalice and plate.
Cathedral Director of Music Jacinta Jakovcevic and the Cathedral Choir lead the assembly in several selected hymns, together with cantors from Redemptoris Mater Seminary and the Neocatechumenal Way, who contributed selected songs by NCW founder Kiko Arguello for the celebration.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Fr Tung Vu thanked all present on behalf of his fellow newly ordained, making special mention to Archbishop Costelloe, Mgr Michael Keating, Director of the Centre for Liturgy Sr Kerry Willison and her team for the significant contribution to the liturgy, as well as their seminary formators, and lecturers at the University of Notre Dame.