This is an amazing ordination cake. The symbolism is manifold. I wish I had taken two photos, from different angles, because the “birds eye view” doesn’t do it justice.


At the base of the cake is an icing cincture which, the creator says, signifies that the ordinand is no longer his own man. He is consecrated to the Lord in the service of his people.

The cake is covered in red icing which evokes the precious blood of the Eucharist.

The image of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement is a second tier, encased by a clerical collar. It speaks to the eschatological significance of the priestly ministry.

The white zuchetto is not a prophecy of papal election! It’s a tribute to Pope Benedict, whose pontificate coincided with the ordinand’s seminary training.

The images of our Lady and St Joseph refer to the ordinand’s devotion to the Holy Family, and the rosary was an unplanned addition credited to inspiration.

The rose petals were made with sugar and rose water, so they smell like real roses. And the water called for in the cake’s recipe was replaced with holy water!

When the chef isn’t making amazing ordination cakes, she owns and runs Veritas, which is possibly the country’s best Catholic bookshop. You’ll find it in Albury. I highly recommend it!

As for the ordinand, his name is Bradley Rafter, and he is one of the best men I know. He is a “late vocation,” joining the seminary at 28. During his late teens and early twenties, I don’t think he darkened the door of a church at all.

A comparison to St Augustine may not be entirely fair, both on the measure of his worldly excesses, and also on the measure of his scholarly output.

Nonetheless, I think now-Father Brad speaks with a similar sort of authority. A man who exploited the opportunities the world offers, and found them wanting. These days, he has the zeal of the convert, and the common sense and realism you’d expect of a thoughtful 35 year old. He is one of those rare people who is at home at every situation society might throw at him. As a much older priest said to me, “he is very balanced,” which is high praise in the context of older, more progressive priests, commenting on us younger traditionalist types.

Bradley Rafter will be a great priest. Pray for him!