Monday, July 08, 2013

NEW PRIESTS - AMAZING SCENES - CATHOLIC CHURCH - EVER YOUNG

Approaching Saint Mary' Cathedral in the early morning Winter Sun.
 It is a bitterly cold, yet brilliantly Sunny Saturday in Sydney as I cross Hyde Park to approach great Saint Mary's Cathedral.It is a scene familiar to me since my earliest childhood memories-though the Cathedral then lacked its spires.
Bathed in bright Sun light the Cathedral - largest in the Southern Hemisphere
and Mother church of Australia awaits the wonders to be performed.
 The closer I approach, the more my thoughts are concentrated on the Ordination to the Priesthood of Deacons, Nicholas Rynne whom I first met some years ago in his hometown of Brisbane, and James Daniel McCaughan whom I have seen move through the Seminary years and Dominic Pham Hong An Nguyen.
Close by the side entrance, the Statue of Blessed Pope John Paul II,reminds of the news
 that very day that his Canonisation and that of Bl John XXIII have both been approved.
As I went to enter by the College Street side door, my attention was caught by the splendid bronze statue of Blessed Pope John Paul II which brought to mind the wonderful news being reported that morning, that his Canonisation and that of Blessed Pope John XXIII had been approved. My emotions were particularly stirred by the memory of Blessed Pope John Paul II whom I had first seen in Brisbane, then in Rome , then again in Sydney. He is a very great hero of mine.

Arriving about 10 minutes to 9.00am for the 10.00am commencement I found the great Cathedral already half-full and a- buzz with a hushed excitement , if its possible to imagine. Happily I was able to secure a good seat on the aisle not too far behind the many RESERVED pews.
The glories of the modern Gothic interior are bathed in golden light,as bright sunlight and
skillful artificial lighting complement each other on the warm sandstone of the Cathedral
 The time spent in waiting is not wasted as I pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary for special intentions for people far away, and I add in the Ordinands - knowing God can handle the load and more.
Further detail showing the Pulpit and the liturgical South (geographical East) transept.
 By 9.15 am the cathedral is two thirds full.And by 9.30am , when the  Main Organ in the Choir Loft under the superb Rose Window begins to play suitable music - including its almost oceanic rumbling chords, the Cathedral is full. And then those marvellous optimists begin to arrive and as usual are surprised they cannot find a seat. Twas ever thus
The Sanctuary Showing the High Altar and Tabernacle and the reredos so recently "peopled" with fine statues of the Saints and the central statue of The Immaculate Mother of God  Help of Christians, Patroness of the Cathedral. The Novus Ordo Altar Consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI with the image of Christ in the Tomb on the frontal is clearly shown.
The scene is set, for the sacred mysteries to be enacted.Cardinal Pell is led in from the Cathedral Sacristy along the geographical Eastern aisle in solemn procession.
And now the great procession begins to pass me as the choir sings from the Breastplate of Saint Patrick "....Christ in hearts of all that love me,Christ in mouth of friend and stranger...." impressive ( though a strange translation of the Gaelic which seems better rendered in the traditional " Christ be the vision, in eyes that see me, In ears that hear me, Christ ever be" more Irish and a better sentiment I think. But the whole is sublime. And as the procession has passed me and slowly, very slowly files into the Sanctuary- for there are very many Seminarians and Priests - the choir intones the Introit in Gregorian Chant " Dominus fortitudo plebis suae...."( The Lord is the strength of His people....".

Throughout the proceeding the sacred character of the event is enhanced by the use of Gregorian Chant and the polyphony of Palestrina and Monteverdi.

The entrance procession begins to pass solemnly toward the Sanctuary.
The whole of the Ordination Ceremony is conducted with a great sense of the sacred as well it should be, for we are witnessing AMAZING SCENES.God Most High is giving to His Church three Priests, three " other Christs" who will be given the power to " do this in memory of Me" and to Bless His people , to hear and absolve their sins and to preach the Word. The power of God is being demonstrated before us, and the vigour of His Church is being renewed.
Here, Father McCaughan left and Father Rynne left receive the fraternal
Kiss of Peace from their now brother Priests, Father Nguyen is to the right
just out of camera - it is not easy to get the best shots without being a nuisance.
Note the lone Roman Chasuble worn by an admirable young Priest.
The laying on of hands by the huge number of Priests is conducted with due solemnity and later, after the conclusion of the Ordination and the vesting with the Chasuble, the fraternal Kiss of Peace is given and received in a warm and friendly manner but with due restraint ever mindful of the sacred character of the event.. ( I have seen it in another place rather resemble "old home week".)
Newly0ordained Father McCaughan speaks on behalf of the three Priests
whilst his two companions are seen seated beside the Auxiliary Bishops 
The address of thanks by Father McCaughan on behalf of the three new Priests was a model of warm gratitude to family, formators and to Cardinal Pell all delivered with a gentle good humour, obviously well received by the congregation and the Cardinal.

Throughout the proceedings the Cathedral's sound system has been remarkable for its crisp clarity of sound- better than I have encountered in many very much smaller churches.
His Eminence listens to Father McCaughan with obvious pleasure and approval.
Then, all too soon, it is time to " come down from the mountain" . God's wonderful work has been done and the procession begins to make its way 
out of the Cathedral. So many familiar priestly faces, old and young, the organ bears our spirits high with its celebratory tones and as the newly ordained pass they are greeted with thunderous applause.

Outside, once again in the brilliant sunshine I have the chance to meet and greet so many well known Priests from Sydney and Melbourne and from Brisbane, the good Jesuit Father Greg Jordan S.J who had assisted Father Nicholas Rynne with vesting in the Chasuble.Father Greg has been the fosterer of so very many vocations.

It was no small pleasure to hear from numbers of Priests with warm smiles : "Read your Blog!", " Love your Blog!" and the like.I also had the privilege of renewing acquaintance with Bishop Julian Porteous whom so many hope to see as the next Bishop of Broken Bay(127 days to go).

All told a brilliant and uplifting experience of Grace. God Bless Fathers McCaughan, Nguyen and Rynne throughout their Priestly lives.

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