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Ordination of Peter Doherty

20 March, 2024
All praying the Litany of the Saints at the Ordination of Peter Doherty

It was with great jubilation that Peter Doherty was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rockhampton on Thursday, 22nd February in St Joseph’s Cathedral in Rockhampton. Although a very warm and humid Rockhampton day, people from across the Diocese and beyond joined in support of Peter – his family, friends, seminarians he has journeyed with, people who helped form him, people from parishes he has served in during his journey and some who were experiencing an Ordination for the first time. Many people were prayerfully supporting him. All came together to fill our Cathedral for the rich ordination liturgy. Prominent in the congregation were parishioners from Bundaberg and students from Shalom College.

Peter grew up in Bundaberg, attending his local parish of St Mary’s with his family and attending the local school and college. He has said of his time growing up that “My family was your typical, everyday family who worshipped in their local Catholic parish.” Following school, he moved to Brisbane to study at the University of Queensland where he completed a Bachelor of Economics, a Bachelor of Commerce and a Master of Business Administration.

Peter entered the seminary at age 42 in 2019 after working in the business world. During his studies he spent time in Yeppoon, Bundaberg and Emerald on pastoral placements. He was ordained a Deacon in St Joseph’s Cathedral on 20th July 2023 and has been on placement in the parishes of Rockhampton since then.
Father Neil Muir, Rector of Holy Spirit Seminary in Brisbane, testified that Peter had been found worthy for the order of the priesthood. During his homily, Bishop Michael acknowledged the wonderful work of Father Neil, as Rector, and all the staff of Holy Spirit Seminary.

On offering some recent advice from the Holy Father, Bishop Michael quoted “never feel separated from the journey of the holy and faithful people of God who preserve us, sustain us in our efforts, accompany us in our pastoral concerns and keep us safe from the risk of growing detracted from reality and feeling all powerful”. “Very wise words from our Holy Father”, he said. Bishop Michael continued “Peter, the Church of this Diocese needs priests who put the congregations first, drive many kilometres to be at their side and not worrying about themselves, but the people entrusted to their care. Willing to sit and listen to people, to sit with a farmer in the midst of drought or flood as the case may be, or in the midst of the enquiring minds of an SOR class, or being asked the uncomfortable question from a Year 3 of how do you pray Bishop, and finally that question that we’re often asked – why has my loved one died, where are they? From birth through life your ministry is wide and marvellous. Peter, you have chosen publicly in his name for the priestly office of the Church, your happiness is in doing his work.” Bishop Michael finished his homily with one more quote from the Holy Father, “Carry out the ministry of Christ the Priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns but to those of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, who came not to be served but to serve, who came to seek out and save what was lost.”

Peter was vested by Father Alex Varghese, who was his supervisor in the Rockhampton parishes, and Father Frank Gilbert a former parish priest from his hometown of Bundaberg.

An extraordinary choir led the congregation in joyful praise, accompanied by Mrs Leanne Voss on the organ and a selection of instrumentalists, all conducted by Miss Joy Philippi. Many hours of practice went into preparing for the Mass. In the closing remarks Bishop Michael said “to our choir, absolutely beautiful, let’s just thank them. At the offertory I could have just waited and waited and waited, and let you sing that time and time again, it was extraordinary. Thank you for the beautiful music.”

Bishop Michael also thanked all who worked behind the scenes to make it such a wonderful celebration. These included the staff from his office, the Diocesan office, the Diocesan Liturgy Group, the sacristans and staff of the Cathedral, students from Emmaus College and The Cathedral College who welcomed people and all who were involved.

After the Mass, all were welcomed to a celebration in Our Lady’s Hall at The Cathedral College, where people stayed to congratulate Father Peter, and catch-up with friends.

The following morning Father Peter celebrated his Thanksgiving Mass at St Joseph’s Cathedral with a large congregation in attendance.

Father Peter spent his first weekend as a priest saying Masses in Rockhampton, before travelling to his hometown of Bundaberg to celebrate with the communities there. He has been posted to the parishes of Rockhampton until May, from where he will take up appointment in the Gladstone parish.

We wish Father Peter every blessing as he grows in his ministry as a priest for the Diocese of Rockhampton.

The stream for both Father Peter’s Ordination Mass and Mass of Thanksgiving remain on the St Joseph’s Cathedral, Rockhampton YouTube Channel –