“You are a Priest Forever”(Ps. 109:4)
Many congratulations to Deacon David Jones, who by the time most of you read this, will be Father David Jones. Father David was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood this weekend at the Birmingham Oratory for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham along with seven others by His Grace Archbishop Bernard Longley. Let us rejoice and give thanks to God, because without priests, the Church would not be able to fulfil Our Lord’s command: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19) and “Do this in memory of Me” (Lk. 22:19; 1 Cor. 11.24) – that is, the command to announce the Gospel and to renew daily the Sacrifice of the Cross which is the Holy Mass.
Today is also the Feast of our Father Founder, Blessed Antonio Rosmini (1797-1855). He founded the Rosminian Order or the Institute of Charity in 1828. He was already a priest, having been ordained on 21st April 1821. On that day he wrote in his diary, “From this hour onwards, I must be a new man, live in Heaven with my heart and mind, converse always with Christ, despise and flee from earthly things. I must return from the altar a saint, an apostle, a man of God. I must progress in all virtues, be the first in love and hard work.”
St John Bosco said of him, “I have never seen a priest say Mass with more devotion than Antonio Rosmini”. According to many witnesses, his face seemed alight, “he appeared to speak with God face to face”, and for a long time after Mass, no one dared to approach him as he made a long thanksgiving. For Rosmini, the Mass was the centre of his day together with the recitation of the Divine Office which he recited faithfully to the end of his life.
The priest acts at all times “in persona Christi”, “in the person of Christ.” He is Christ when he raises his hand to forgive sins: “I absolve you from all your sins…” He is Christ when he says, “This is My Body; this is My Blood”; he is Christ when he anoints the sick and leads the people in the Sacred Liturgy; he is Christ when he preaches; he is Christ when he comforts those who mourn and those who are suffering; he is Christ when he guides the young on their way to Heaven.
St John Marie Vianney, the Patron Saint of Parish Priests said, “The priest continues the work of redemption on earth … If we understood the priest on earth, we would die not of fright but of love… The Priesthood is the love of the heart of JESUS.”
Please pray for Father David and for all your priests, and let us continue to pray fervently that God will bless us with many vocations from THIS parish.
Fr Paul Gillham IC