On Saturday 19 November, three new priests and three new transitional deacons were ordained for the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne in a joyful Ordination Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

In his greeting and introduction, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli commented on how good it was to see the cathedral so full of people for the ordinations of Fr Huy Nguyen, Fr Vinh Do and Fr An Le to the priesthood, and of Rev Thomas Christie, Rev Tien Tran and Rev Peter (Ngoc) Nguyen to the transitional diaconate.

A few weeks before the Ordination Mass, two of the ordinands spoke about their journey to ordination in a short video reflection.

Fr Huy Nguyen paid tribute to the influence of his parents, and particularly his mother, who encouraged him to become involved in the Church as an altar server. ‘From there I picked up the faith,’ he recalled. Reflecting on what excited him about the prospect of ordination, he said, ‘I’m the one who likes to listen to the stories. Stories tell us a lot about people’s lives. I’m very excited to ... shed light on the meaning, the purpose of people’s stories.’

Deacon Tom Christie shared how important it had been for him to grow up in a loving and committed Catholic family, and also spoke of the formative influence of his childhood parish priest. ‘His reverence, and the way that he celebrated the liturgy, the Mass, in hindsight did have a deep and profound effect and impact on me,’ he said. He was looking forward in his vocation to being an ‘instrument of grace’, accompanying people ‘both in the most joyous occasions of their life, but also in the most tragic ones’.

In his homily, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli spoke of the need to put the horse before the cart, explaining that this was an apt image to help us understand St Paul’s advice to the church in Ephesus on how to ‘lead a life worthy of your vocation’:

Charity, selflessness, gentleness, patience, unity, peacefulness. These are the key behaviours Paul called the Ephesians to live by; these are the chief characteristics of a vocation in the Lord. Here is the horse. These are the drivers that bring us into a life in the Holy Spirit, the features which bind us to the one Body of Christ.

At the conclusion of the Mass, Fr Huy Nguyen, on behalf of the newly ordained, said a few words—in both English and Vietnamese—thanking the ‘many people who have supported us on our formation journey’, including Archbishop Comensoli, outgoing Rector Fr Denis Stanley and the broader Corpus Christi community, and the staff and students of Catholic Theological College.

Acknowledging that the family home is often the place where we learn about the Catholic faith and ‘where we learn to pray’, he paid special tribute to the families of the newly ordained, thanking ‘all of you who are here today for your love, support and sacrifice’.

He also acknowledged the encouragement and support of the parish communities among whom they had ministered on pastoral placements throughout their formation. ‘It has been your encouragement, feedback and prayers that have helped us to grow in our identity and work alongside you as a faith community,’ he said. ‘Thank you for being instruments of Christ’s grace in our lives.’

The Ordination Mass was livestreamed and broadcast to YouTube and to community TV channel C31. Watch the Mass below:

Photos by Casamento Photography.