Ordination: Recommendation and Homily21 June, 2021
An integral part of the Ordination Ceremony is the response to the question: ‘Is he worthy?’
As rector of Holy Spirit Ceremony, our own Mgr John Grace was the one to give the reply, ‘He is.’ based on the thoughtful Recommendation he gave. It follows:
Recommendation for Ashwin Emmanuel Acharya
Ashwin’s diaconal appointment was in Emerald’s spread of Parish communities in the Central Highland. He has been guided by the Divine Word Missionary Priests, Father Truc and Fr Yon who are particularly skilled in priestly formation. Ashwin embraced this assignment with his characteristic enthusiastic spirit.
Ashwin connected well across the diverse range of communities. He has made an extraordinary effort with teachers and relates beautifully with children. He meets people where they are at. He is very open. Being excited about mission, his homilies are very honest and appealing. He has drawn people to a renewed commitment to the practicing of faith.
Ashwin possesses a particular passion for the faith as is sensed clearly in his personal living and in his style of transmission. Zeal for the things of the Heavenly Father is obvious. It is difficult to temper his concentrated efforts at outreach. He injects life into the Word of God. His musical skill sharpens that appeal.
Ashwin is unquestionably loyal, trusting of authority, accepting of correction and direction without bearing grudges, respectful and willing to grasp every opportunity as a growth moment in life and in faith. He is as comfortable in the market place as he is in the Church.
Ashwin has made a good name for himself and generated strong evidence of a vocation to priesthood as a transitional deacon. This will inevitably flow easily into the priestly way of life. The Seminary Formation Staff recognise the endorsement of the Pastoral Director Father Frank Jones, the guardianship of his current Spiritual Director Father Gary Walker, after Father Paul Chandler whilst at the Seminary, and the tutelage of the Pastoral Supervisors, Fr. Truc, and his assistant, Fr. Yon. All augers well for this noble aspiration.
Time management and focus remain matters of ongoing attention as do the number of projects that can be managed at any one time. He is more conscious of this than of implementing attempts to restrain or restrict his often “frenetic” energy. Ashwin has the makings of a very fine, conscientious and dedicated priest.
We endorse him wholeheartedly and recommend him unreservedly for Presbyteral Ordination.
Bishop Michael’s homily for the Ordination.
The recent edition of the documents to the church in preparation for the upcoming Plenary Council included a document “The Light from the Southern Cross”. The monumental document reflected on church governance, ensuring God’s people are cared for and shown the love of God through its members and the ministers of the Church.
As the Church is ordered through its organisational structure, it is so the Risen Christ may be reflected in its members and ministers. We the disciples, the people of God, the followers of the Risen Christ, participate in His mission. As we prayed in our opening prayer this morning, the opening prayer of the Ordination ceremony, we prayed; “Lord God, who in governing your people, make use of the ministry of priests, grant a preserving obedience to your will to this Deacon of the church, who you have graciously chosen today, so that by his ministry in life, he may gain glory for You in Christ”.
Dear Ashwin, as you stand on the edge of Ordination, reassured by God, we pray may you Ashwin gain glory for you in Christ. God is with you and as Pope Francis speaks so clearly – the Father who gazes over you and dreams big dreams for you. We listen to the prophet Jeremiah, the beautiful words spoken by a prophet many centuries ago. A young prophet, a very young prophet, and yet these words that come to us today, spoken by a young reader, again with the same hopes the same dreams that come to us from across the centuries – before I formed you, I set you apart and appointed you, do not be afraid for I am with you. Echoing the prayer of the Ordination Mass, this is God at God’s best – I am with you, and that you may gain glory in Christ.
There have been the words of a song going around in my mind for the last couple of weeks, it is an old song, To Dream the Impossible Dream. You may know that one, that’s how old I’m becoming. But today Ashwin, this is with you, dreaming the impossible dream. God and you together ready for whatever comes your way, as your Rector has just told us.
Whatever seems impossible, is possible with God. And the song goes on naming the impossible and finishes, with a little re-arranging of the lyrics – my heart lies peaceful and calm, working for the heavenly cause. This is the cause of God. I assure you I am with you, as we reflect on what you are about to be called to, ordained, set apart for the cause of God.
When I sat in the same place as you 43 years ago at St Stephen’s Cathedral, the same reading was read that day with my classmate, and 10 days ago we had a chance to reflect on that as I spent a bit of time with him, the priest I was ordained with. I had no idea what was ahead. I knew at the centre of the calling was to follow Christ, care for the people of God pastorally, spiritually and have my brother priests, as they will testify that are here around you. This is still the calling that we all have. The calling as our priests, as each of them will say to you, this is what we signed up for. That is, God with us, and through the ups and downs of life, God is there with us.
Now God calls you to exercise the sacred duty of teaching, in the name of Christ the teacher, and you will impart to everyone the word of God which you have received with joy, and practice what you preach. In this way that what you teach be a nourishment for the people of God by your holy way of life and build up the Church in which my brothers join me today in this Cathedral. Continue to love, the love that we have as priests for our Church and for its future. As you gather with the people of God through Baptism, you will forgive sins in the name of Christ in the sacrament of Penance, comfort the sick with prayer and anointing them with the holy oil, nourished daily through the celebration of the Eucharist. You minister in the name of Christ with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns, but to those of Jesus Christ, united in prayer with your brothers in the priesthood through praying daily the Divine Office and being supportive of them by the great gift of priestly fraternity.
Ashwin, you are a young man, and you have offered yourself for the order of the priesthood.
You have heard God’s call and answered it with a humble and wholehearted yes to God as a true man of faith. This is the faith that plunges us even deeper into the mystery of God, the giving of yourself completely in generosity. There is no room for fear here, or resistance, as that only shows a lack of confidence in the Holy Spirit.
Your confidence in the Holy Spirit today has enabled you to begin this journey of discernment with you through the apostolic ministry of teaching, which you began many years ago at St Ursula’s. From the Parish of the Capricorn Coast and formation in the parishes of North and South Mackay, The Valleys and Emerald, now you are firmly anchored into the Diocese of Rockhampton as one of her sons and soon to be priest. Through the people of God in our Diocese, God supports you and calls you now to care for them and lead them through priestly ministry. With the readiness of those described in the Gospel of whatever comes because there you will find Jesus inviting you into new and existing parts of the mission. The excitement of being called, and I go back to John’s gospel at the beginning, where they say, yeah, we found him at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, with such preciseness. This is the God who has called you. Jesus who is your friend, who will walk with you and together dreaming the impossible dream for Jesus and the Church, and using the gifts as described by St Paul. Each of these gifts are the gifts of the Holy Spirit – generosity, diligence for leadership, compassion, cheerfulness – this is your gift and all because of your unswerving faith as a teacher of the mysteries of God and a minister inviting our people into the circle of God.
Pour out on this spirit of yours the blessing of the Holy Spirit and the power of priestly grace – is the prayer I will pray on behalf of the Church. This is the powerful prayer of the gifts of heaven, the Saints of God, who with the Church and our God offers you this moment and this life, this incredible prayer that will be prayed for you. Ashwin, it is for you and the people who you will minister to, the people who God will place in your life, in your ministry. And during these past few months I have been visiting the parishes of the Diocese, praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our younger brothers and sisters. As a constant the Holy Spirit is invited into the Ordination ceremony, as the Holy Spirit is invited at Baptism to join you with God’s family, in Confirmation to strengthen you for mission, and Ordination inviting you into ordained ministry. Through the prayer of consecration, you are linked to the Apostles and we pray – renew deep within him the spirit of holiness, may he be a worthy co-worker with our order so that by his preaching and through the grace of the Holy Spirit, the words of the gospel may bear fruit in human hearts; and all within the Diocese of Rockhampton.
May the Holy Spirit come upon us now as we move into the Ordination ceremony.
God bless you.