Remember in your prayers James Kerr, a Ballarat seminarian, who will be ordained to the priesthood tonight. What a great occasion.

Ordinations are public, in the same way that Sunday Mass is a public. In many countries, great numbers attend ordinations, without an invitation, and regardless of their personal connecting with the ordinand. In Australia, however, ordinations seem to have assumed a semi-private character, in the same way that weddings have.

I can’t do much about the personal connection, but here’s the invitation:

James last year reflected on his ordination to the diaconate:

If I was to pick two words to describe my experience of being ordained, I would have to say I was both humbled and affirmed by the ceremony.

Despite my own inadequacies, I was called forth to serve as a minister of God and his Church. Despite my unworthiness, I was judged to be worthy and chosen as a candidate for ordination as a deacon, ordained to assist the bishop in his ministry and commissioned to proclaim the Gospel and to assist at the altar during the Sacred Liturgy. It was truly humbling to be called to such a ministry, as it was also humbling to receive so much support and encouragement from all those who prayed with and for me.

The experience was also affirming. After some last minute jitters in the lead up to the ordination, I was subsequently filled with the conviction of having made the right decision
in following my vocation. Through the liturgy itself and through the hearty congratulations I received afterwards from many friends, old and new, I was overwhelmed by a great
sense of peace and confirmation. I had made the right choice and could now look forward to a life serving God and his Church.

Only a few days before my ordination, bishops from across Australia joined in laying hands on Bishop Paul’s head. In doing so, they handed on the gift of the Holy Spirit they had received at their ordination and hence passed forth in unbroken succession the mission of the Apostles. As a successor of the Apostles, Bishop Paul in his turn then laid his hands on me, ordaining me to assist him in that same mission. I was privileged in this way to be the first to be ordained by our new bishop, and the first to pledge him my obedience and respect. May many more young men follow after me.

I owe my thanks to the many people who helped with the preparation of the occasion, and to God for calling me forth to serve his Church.

For the first time in the seminary’s history, Ballarat will have no students at Corpus Christi College next year. I hope and pray that the occasion of James’ ordination, and the youthful enthusiasm which will accompany his priestly ministry, will foster an abundance of priestly vocations for the diocese.