Homilies

Ordination to the Priesthood

ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART IN SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SATURDAY, 6TH SEPTEMBER 2008 AT 10.00 A.M.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Surrounded by brother priests, family and so many friends, I welcome Binh Le, Thang Vu, Dispin John and Anh Nguyen to be ordained priests for the Archdiocese of Melbourne:  Anh is joined by his father Kan, mother Khai, brothers Chau and Bo; Thang by his father Tiem, mother Ngyui and his Aunt’s family with whom he has lived in Australia (relatives are in Vietnam and Canada); Binh by his father Van, mother Tron, sister and four brothers; Dispin’s mother Mary is unwell, but priest friends:  Anthony, Dominic, Heronymus and Ubald are with us.  Welcome.

After long years of study they come to be ordained priest, to receive from Jesus Christ at the hands of the bishop a lifelong mission to sanctify, teach and lead God’s people.

I express deep gratitude to those who have guided them on their journey and I ask each of you to thank God for his gift to the Church of these new priests as we support them with intense prayer and praise.

In our human frailty we know God’s power in our weakness as we call to mind our sins and come with them humbly and joyfully as we begin this Mass.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we welcome with profound joy our brothers, Binh, Thang, Dispin and Anh, who through their seminary years have trodden the path of consecration, undertaken in response to a personal call from the Lord.  Accompanied by their parents, family members from near and far, brother priests and the people of God, they have committed themselves to accepting Christ’s invitation to follow him, to leave all behind, and to devote their lives to the pursuit of holiness and the service of his people.

In the same way that God calls these four young men to enter into the mystery of Christ’s being given for the life of the world, so their life and the life and death of Christ will be intertwined.  As Pope Benedict said in Sydney:  “We know that in the end – as Saint Ignatius of Loyola saw so clearly – the only real ‘standard’ against which all human reality can be measured is the Cross and its message of an unmerited love which triumphs over evil, sin and death, creating new life and unfading joy.” 

By dying to self these young men will be totally open to Christ, supported always by the grace that he alone will give, the intimacy that they will know with him to grow in holiness and share it with others, walking humbly in the path of Jesus Christ.  Priests “draw men and women into the beauty of that love, and the light of the truth which alone brings salvation to the world”.

In a few moments by the imposition of hands I will confer on these young men the dignity of the priesthood.  In silence I and after me the other priests present will impose hands on the heads of the ordinands expressing the invocation to God that he will pour out his Holy Spirit upon them and transform them. 

I do urge our four ordinands to look back on this moment of mystery and transformation as the origin of their new mission.  In that silent moment the freedom of God who works through the Holy Spirit meets the freedom of the candidate coming forward to place himself under mediation which God alone can give.  This mediation arises from the love of Christ, which we are called at all times to impart.  We worship Christ in our hearts as our first and greatest love, which purifies, gives light to and makes holy all other relationships.  With joy and prayer we reflect upon the mystery of priesthood in the Church.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.
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