Last night, assuming all went well, four new priests - Frs Julian Belich, Andrew Benton, Christopher Higgins, and Rev James McCarthy - were ordained for the Sydney Archdiocese. A goodly number indeed, which should be a cause of rejoicing. But perhaps not that unusual you might think even in these vocation starved times.
Sydney's new priests
What is very unusual is that three of the four - and remember these are diocesan priests - reportedly plan to say a mass in the Extraordinary Form over the next week.
This really does seem to me absolutely extraordinary, something that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago! It is yet another - important - sign that, thanks to Pope Benedict XVI's generosity and wisdom in issuing Summorum Pontificum, the TLM has returned to the mainstream of the Church.
So please do pray for these new priests as they start their priestly ministry.
Remembering and treasuring the sacrifices of our pastors
Australia actually seems to be doing pretty well in terms of young diocesan priests with some attachment to the TLM - a number of recent ordinands have said TLMs, and number of other priests have learnt the TLM and say it regularly or occasionally in their parishes.
Notwithstanding these positive signs though, we are still in a difficult transition time, when those who do say the TLM are still likely to receive flak from parishioners, fellow priests, blogs like Cooees and others. But because we are at a transition point, it is also a good time, it seems to me, to capture and remember the contributions of those who laboured through the difficult years. Traditionalism after all, is about preserving our patrimony, about memory not forgetting - yet many in the traditional communities now are probably not aware of much of the history of the movement in Australia.
And so, now that we are in ordination anniversary season, and coming up to the start of the Year of the Priest, I thought this might be a good moment for us all to try and especially keep in our prayers those priests who have served the traditional communities, and/or who say the TLM in various places now.
Send me ordination dates (or obits)...
Now I'm sure everyone keeps their own chaplain(s) in their prayers anyway, and probably a few other priests of their acquaintance. But I thought it might be nice to have a prayer list for Australia as a whole...
So here is what I want to do. Compile a list of ordination anniversary dates for current and past chaplains of the traditional mass communities and others who have supported the TLM. I could then put up a prompt on the date to remind everyone to pray for the person concerned with perhaps a little background on them (or a nice photo!).
So tell me what you think.
And if you think it is a good idea, do send in (to email@example.com or via the comment box below) ordination date and any other relevant background (community, dates served, etc) of any priests you think should be included on such a list. Providing no one convinces me its a dreadful idea, once I have a few I'll add them to my own collection of dates and provide a partial list to prompt others!