The Archdiocese of Brisbane has celebrated the Feasts of St Peter and Paul with an ordination Mass.
In a Cathedral that was full to bursting three men – Isaac Falzon, Minje Kim and Gerard Lai, were presbyterally ordained by Archbishop Mark Coleridge.
It was a joyous occasion for the Mother Church of Brisbane which only 24 hours prior had celebrated a Mass in honour of the Cathedral’s sesquicentenary and 150 years of priestly ordinations.
All three ordinands completed their formation at Holy Spirit Seminary at Banyo but enjoyed pastoral placements in many parishes, most recently with Maroochydore, Bracken Ridge and Cleveland.
Busloads of supporters made the trip into the CBD to witness the occasion, and hundreds watched via a livestream, including some from overseas in Fr Kim’s native Korea.
At the commencement of the Rite of Ordination the candidates were presented and commended to the Archbishop by the Seminary Rector Fr Neil Muir.
In the homily that soon followed, Archbishop Coleridge looked both forward and back – to the apostolic zeal of Peter and Paul, and to a model of future parish that will always require priests but may be shaped very differently to now.
“If the church belongs to God then we can be less anxious about where we are as a church; where we need to be and how we might get there,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“Some think that because vocations to the clergy and religious life have dwindled the church’s Mission inevitably dwindles too, but not necessarily if we can draw upon the gifts and energies of all the baptized.
“This requires an understanding of baptism as a call to Mission so that every baptized person is sent by Christ into the world as a missionary though in a thousand different ways.
“The priesthood is Christ’s gift and it is essential – you can’t have the Catholic Church without it, but it’s taken many forms through the ages and its forms will continue to change, as they have in my own lifetime.
“Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, synodality invites us to think of leadership in terms of a team which will have a priest certainly, but which will also include lay and perhaps religious leaders informing the team.
“We will ask not the administrative question ‘where are the gaps and who do we have to fill them?’ but the charismatic question ‘to whom has God given the gifts needed for leadership?’ in a community which may well be a larger configuration than the parishes we have known – a ‘community of communities’.
“We need a form of leadership which looks to Apostolic success; one that will always include a priest or priests but the priest himself may not be the team leader if that isn’t the gift he has received from God, nor the service to which he has called for the sake of the community.
“His is a Ministry of word, Sacrament and pastoral care – prophet, priest, pastor.
“To know what Apostolic success might require we look to Saints Peter and Paul.
“In them we see that Apostolic success doesn’t mean sameness – they were very different personalities with very different backgrounds and stories.
“They had their differences in life, differences enough that they parted ways and took separate missionary paths yet their two paths eventually converged in Rome which is why their memory is revered most intensely there and why we celebrate them on this single feast day – the 29th of June,” he said.
All of the new priests will continue in their current parishes until a decision is made on their first appointments.
They also look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving Masses in various churches in the coming days.
In a word of thanks delivered at the end of Mass Fr Minje Kim spoke on behalf of all three priests, acknowledging the support of so many who had helped them on their vocational journey.
In a milestone for the Cathedral, he also addressed the assembly in the Korean language as a mark of respect to both his parents and extended family who were present, and to those watching overseas.
“To our parents -thank you for joyfully accepting the gift of life that was given to three of us by God, and for nurturing us as a way of offering to God which our mother Mary did for Jesus,” Fr Kim said.
“Without your parental love and sacrifice, all three of us would not have been able to wholeheartedly accept God’s invitation to love one another and to love everyone.
“Your parental love will continue to be a grounding component of our mission where we continue to show God’s love and mercy to all,” he said.
The Presbyteral Ordination can been seen in full on the Brisbane Archdiocesan You Tube Channel at https://youtu.be/Q2rRUBWxSPo