Three men were ordained to the priesthood at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday 25 November: Fr Thomas Christie, Fr Peter Nguyen and Fr Tien Tran. Jean-Sébastien Géry was also ordained to the transitional diaconate, the penultimate step in the journey to becoming a priest. It was a joyous occasion in the life of the local church, with the ordinands surrounded by family, friends and Melbourne’s community of faith.
During his homily, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli reminded the ordinands of what constitutes a vocation in Christ: ‘[St] Paul talks of charity, selflessness, gentleness, patience, unity and peace. We might firstly note just how closely these vocational elements harmonise with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
‘They do not name tasks to be done, nor roles to be lived. Neither do they speak of a place or status within the Church. They are, instead, ways of living a life in Christ.
‘For the four of you to be ordained today—either into the priesthood or diaconal life … [these] elements are the measure to which we are called.
‘They are what will form us into membership of the one Body of Christ.’
The ordinands had earlier shared their excitement in the lead up to Saturday’s celebration, with Thomas Christie reflecting on the ‘far-reaching impact’ of his chosen vocation.
St Paul talks of charity, selflessness, gentleness, patience, unity and peace ... ways of living a life in Christ.
‘The sacrament of Holy Orders is much bigger than just myself. The priesthood can be an instrument of grace that provides consolation, healing and hope for many people,’ he said.
‘It will be a real privilege and responsibility to help individuals in this way. It will also keep me humble at the same time.’
The pinnacle of the rite of ordination is the laying on of hands, during which the bishop—the only one who can ordain—places his hands on the head of the ordinand and invokes the Holy Spirit to come upon him for his ministry. This gesture is then repeated by all the priests present, in what is often quite a moving moment during the Mass.
This poignancy was perhaps best summarised by the newly ordained Fr Tien Tran, who offered some words of thanks at the end of Mass. He also reflected on the richness and meaning of the gestures that had taken place.
‘The laying on of hands and kiss of peace from our priests [are] a reminder that we are not ordained for ourselves, but to work alongside our priests in the Archdiocese in the common mission of serving God’s people.’
Melbourne Catholic23 February 2024
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