On the evening of Friday 15 July, the bells rang out from St Patrick’s Cathedral, joyfully anticipating the ordination of three new priests.
In a beautiful and moving liturgy, Rev. Andrew John Kwiatkowski, Rev. Brian Anthony Muling and Rev. Ignatius Boon Kim Tan were ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli. Upheld by the love and prayers of their family and friends—joining them both in person at the cathedral and via livestream from as far away as Poland and Singapore—the three ordinands processed into the cathedral in the company of many of their future brother priests.
Among the concelebrants were the Vicar General Very Rev. Joseph Caddy, Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern Region Very Rev. Tony Kerin, the Dean of the Cathedral Very Rev. Werner Utri, Master of Catholic Theological College Very Rev. Kevin Lenehan, and Rector of Corpus Christi College Very Rev. Denis Stanley.
In his homily, Archbishop Comensoli reflected on the image of the Good Shepherd who ‘knows his own’ (John 10:11–16), outlining how a priest is called to relate to others: personally, attentively, by knowing their hopes and desires, and with a special attention to those on who have come ‘from outside’, those ‘not of the fold’. Christ, the Good Shepherd, he noted, ‘needed to know his own, so that he could then lay down his life for them.’
A priest worthy of that title, a priest seeking to live after the heart of the Good Shepherd, needs to learn this way of giving.
Having been elected as candidates for the priesthood, the ordinands made a series of promises in relation to the exercise of this sacred ministry. And in one of the most striking and moving moments in the Rite of Ordination, they prostrated themselves before the altar—demonstrating both their unworthiness for the office and their dependence on God and the prayers of the people. As they prostrated themselves, the Litany of the Saints was sung—a beautiful prayer in which the celebrants and congregation asked for the intercession of the saints, so that the three men might be strengthened for priestly ministry.
After the Prayer of Ordination, the new priests were invested with stoles and chasubles. The Archbishop then anointed their hands, and the gifts of bread and wine were handed to them with the words, ‘Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s Cross.’
Accompanied by the ethereal voices of the Cathedral Schola, the newly ordained priests received the fraternal kiss from the Archbishop and all the other priests in attendance, including many who have closely accompanied and encouraged them on their journey to ordination.
Following Communion—the first Eucharist concelebrated by the new priests—Fr Kwiatkowski briefly addressed the congregation on behalf of all of the new priests, thanking those who had supported, encouraged and inspired them in their vocations and who had given them ‘the strength and courage to hear the call and respond’.
‘We have given God our lives,’ he said, ‘so that we might serve his Church, and especially all of you, who have given so much to us. Together we can continue to build up the kingdom of God and be a true light of hope and joy in this world.’
Images by Casamento Photography.
Melbourne Catholic28 November 2023
VMCH28 November 2023