On Saturday, 27 June, the feast of St John Southworth, five men were ordained priests for the diocese by Cardinal Vincent. The five ordained were Rev Bill Bowder, Rev David Burke, Rev Cyril Chiaha, Rev Daniel Humphreys and Rev David Lucuy.
Also assisting with the ordinations were Cardinal Cormac and Bishop Nicholas Hudson and Bishop Mark Jabalé, Fr Roger Taylor, Rector of Allen Hall, and Mgr Roderick Strange, Rector of Beda College, along with over 100 priests from the diocese. Also present in the sanctuary was Church of England Bishop Robert Ladds.
The candidates for ordination were presented by Fr Roger Taylor.
Cardinal Vincent began his homily by noting that it was a day 'rich in gifts: given and received'. He said that the first gift was that of the men who were willing 'to give their lives to the Lord in this new and radical way'.
In turn they received from the gift of priesthood. 'Through this gift we are kept bound to Christ, in bonds of love which alone can bring us to the fulfilment of life, our salvation, for which we have been created,' said the Cardinal.
Recalling the gift of the lives of Cardinals Wiseman and Manning, and of St John Southworth, he remarked that they are shining examples of 'what it is to be a missionary priest'.
He spoke about the loss that each one of these great men incurred in following this path, noting: 'We too can expect our own share of that burden, especially as we are called to public ministry in a society which organises itself without reference to God.'
In contrast, he also spoke of the joys of priesthood, quoting a young priest recently ordained who had been 'overwhelmed at times at the deep love and respect that our people have for us priests'.
Cardinal Vincent explained it thus: 'We are loved, we are criticised, because, like those who have gone before, we are Catholic priests. We wear the vestment and the collar with pride in Christ Jesus whose heralds we are.'
He enjoined the men being ordained always to 'be ready with open hearts: to give yourselves entirely to the Lord; to receive these great gifts of Sacred Priesthood from the Lord Himself; to see the path ahead as one of true service, bearing all for love of Him, striving always to do His work, through Word, Sacrament and merciful pastoral care and thereby rejoicing always in this calling which is your hearts' desire and your greatest joy'.
Fr Bill Bowder will serve as Assistant Priest in Highbury; Fr David Burke will serve as Assistant Priest in Burnt Oak; Fr Cyril Chiaha will serve as Assistant Priest in Enfield; Fr Daniel Humphreys will serve as Assistant Priest in Kensington; and Fr David Lucuy will serve as Assistant Priest in Islington.
Please pray for all the men as they take up their ministry.
The full text of Cardinal Vincent's homily is available here.