By Józef Łopuszyński

On the vigil of Pentecost, Brother Dominic Edwards was Ordained to the Sacred Priesthood at Birmingham Oratory by His Lordship Bishop Robert Byrne.

In his homily, Bishop Byrne said, “I know that for you Brother Dominic today is the most important day of your life, the day on which you will for ever be configured to Christ the High Priest. Remember too that for the ordaining bishop to ordain a man to the priesthood is a great grace and one which powerfully reminds him of the awesome responsibility of his office.”

“Priestly ministry,” he continued, ” is an adventure which we embark upon with enthusiasm and optimism. It is a giving of self for the sake of the Kingdom which is most clearly demonstrated by our promise of celibacy. The priesthood is a sign to the world of eternity; it is never merely a worthy occupation.

“I would go so far as to say that our most effective priestly ministry begins after our death. It is then that we shall be joined with Christ the High Priest in a constant act of intercession to the Father which is the heart of our ministry.”

“Your ministry is to be in the context of your Oratorian family in Birmingham for the rest of your hfe. It was our Cardinal who said that he could only do things in St Philip’s way and it is the same for you and indeed for me. The infectious joy and overflowing love of St. Philip’s heart should be your pattern of ministry. It is fitting that you are being ordained at Pentecost, the day on which our glorious patriarch received the Holy Spirit into his heart like a ball of fire.”

“You will be a shepherd to God’s people by sanctifying them especially through the administration of the sacraments, which is very much a part of our Oratorian tradition. So too is our ministry preaching: our “daily distribution of the Word of God” as Newman described it.

"Of course this takes many forms in the world today but always with the same aim of communicating the unfathomable riches of friendship with Jesus Christ. So too through your ministry in the confessional which is a hallmark of Oratorian life you will reconcile God’s people to that friendship.

"Also through a worthy and dignified celebration of the Mass you will teach people of the beauty of holiness. You wil1 also give pastoral care to your people with the mercy and tenderness of Christ as we are constantly reminded by Pope Francis. It is through you as a priest that the fountain of sacramental grace will flow as St John tells us in today’s gospel.”

“As a senior priest in this diocese says: “We grow where we are planted”. We Oratorians are bound to our brethren and our people by strings of love; please make that evident in your daily life and ministry. Never cease to draw on the example and prayers of St Philip and the Oratorian saints and beati. What can be greater, more exciting than bringing the joy and love of the gospel to our world which is so angry and fearful of so much? In the words of Pope emeritus Benedict:

“In order to be collaborators in the joy of others, in a world that is often sad and negative, the fire of the Gospel must burn within you and the joy of the Lord dwell in you.”

For more information about the Oratory please see Birmingham Oratory

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