Opening Remarks at the Ordination of Ordinariate Priests
Bryan Kipling Cooper, Douglas Hayman, John Hodgins, James Tilley
Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa, ON
Feast of St John of the Cross—December 14, 2013
It is my honour to preside at today’s ordination and to extend a warm welcome all who have come to Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica this morning.
It is a pleasure to welcome back to our midst Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, who exercises oversight of a far-flung diocese embracing the United States and Canada. He will give the homily.
Regrettably, Father Lee Kenyon of Calgary, Dean of the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist, cannot be with us due to a recent fall; Father Carl Reid will exercise his role in witnessing to the suitability for Holy Orders of Bryan Kipling Cooper, Douglas Hayman, John Hodgins and James Tilley.
These married men, who are accompanied by their wives and family members, have been granted permission by Pope Francis to exercise the priestly office in the married state.
Today, the church’s liturgy commemorates the Carmelite priest and doctor of the Church, John of the Cross. Most of his life he experienced the grace he prayed for: “to suffer and to be despised.” Toward the end of his life, even his adversaries acknowledged his sanctity. The basic idea behind his mysticism is that the soul must empty itself of self in order to be filled with God, that it must be purified of the last traces of earthliness before it is fit to become united with God. The “Dark Night” is a period of heavy trials where God perfects the soul.
Kipling, Douglas, John and James, my sons, your lives have been ones of commitment and patient witness as your credentials were studied, your competencies honed and your commitment tested. Clearly, your formation and ministry in the Anglican tradition have provided you solid spiritual bedrock on which you have been shaping your lives since you entered into full Communion with the Roman Catholic Church. You are witnesses to Christ and to the truths of Catholic Christianity–often at a cost to yourselves.
Coming into communion with the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate, you bring with you the spiritual patrimony of the Anglican Church. Now, your ministry will extend to strengthening bonds of friendship and communion between the Catholic Church and ecclesial communities of the Anglican and other Christian traditions.
St Ignatius of Antioch in writing to Blessed Polycarp outlined your task: “Be preoccupied about unity, for nothing is better than this. Help others along, as the Lord helps you. Bear with all out of love, as indeed you do. Find time for unceasing prayer. Ask for more wisdom than you have. Keep your spirit awake and watch.”
We ask God’s blessing on you, your families and the varied ministries you will exercise. May Our Lord bless you abundantly and Blessed Mother Mary intercede for you. Joyfully, I propose that we remember one another at the altar of the Lord.
[Photo credit: Deborah Gyapong]