On the Solemnity of St John the Baptist, 24th June 2023, Cardinal Vincent Nichols ordained five men to the priesthood to serve in the Diocese of Westminster.
Westminster Cathedral was full with family, friends, and supporters from around the diocese who came to take part in this joyful day and to pray for the men.
Concelebrating were Bishop Nicholas Hudson, Bishop Lodewijk Aerts of Bruges, and priests from across the Diocese of Westminster.
As priests of the New Covenant, the newly-ordained men ‘are chosen by the Father to be the companions of his Son,’ said the Cardinal in his homily.
He explained that knowing ‘our God-given purpose in life, whatever that may be, brings with it a sense of fulfilment like no other’. That these men had found their purpose in their calling to priesthood ‘makes this ceremony a moment of great joy and fulfilment’.
Being a disciple of Christ and serving him is characterised by sacrifice, he added. ‘Our response to the love and calling of the Lord always contains a remarkable element of sacrifice.
‘The ordained priesthood bestows the duty, the privilege, of offering the Sacrifice of Christ, every day, in the Holy Mass. And the sacrifice of the Mass completes and fulfils every act of sacrifice that we make, be it small or great.’
Mentioning some of the saints whose feast days are commemorated around this time, the Cardinal said: ‘All of them embody self-sacrifice as the supreme expression of love and service.’
He named St Alban, St Etheldreda, Sts John Fisher and Thomas More, St Aloysius Gonzaga, St John Rigby and St John Southworth, as especially poignant examples of self-sacrifice, saying, ‘This rich array of saints, each making a fragrant sacrifice of their life, surrounds us at this moment.’
Turning to the Mass, he addressed the newly-ordained priests: ‘From this day on, you, our five new priests, will come every day to the altar to offer again the sacrifice of Christ himself. This timeless act stands at the centre of your ministry, for it draws together and into fulfilment, the daily sacrifices of the people. For this reason we are all summoned to Mass, to unite our simple acts of service and sacrifice with the greatness of Christ’s offering of himself to the Father.
He observed that the ‘days in which we live are not easy. Our world is full of violence and rancour’.
He reassured the men that ‘we pray for you, our new priests, and for all our priests, that every day, as you light candles at your altar for the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass, the light of Christ will shine forth, until history itself is steeped in his light.’
All five are appointed Assistant Priests serving different parishes: Fr John Casey will serve at St Alban and St Stephen, St Albans. Fr Marco Lazzaron will serve at St Joseph and the English Martyrs, Bishop’s Stortford. Fr Juan Sola Garcia will serve at Holy Trinity, Brook Green. Fr Francis Thomas will serve at Our Lady of Victories, Kensintgon. Fr Patrick van der Vorst will serve at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St George, Enfield.
Please pray for the five newly-ordained priests as they begin their ministry.
Additional photos from the ordination are available here.