Fr. Peter with some of our parishioners at his ordination
Fr. Clarke blesses his wife

It was another day of grey skies and lashing rain, but once inside the Cathedral church of St. Peter and St. Paul, there was an all-pervading sense of light, space and serenity.

Well before 5.00pm pews were quickly filling, not only with the relations and friends of the four Anglican priests to be ordained, but also with groups of parishioners from several churches in the diocese, both Catholic and Anglican.

The Mass of Ordination began with the entrance hymn, 'Come down, O love divine,' which seemed to perfectly fit the occasion, as a long line of priests from the diocese processed to a row of seating behind the altar. They had come to witness and support the ordination as priests of four Anglican clergy, who had recently been ordained as Deacons in the Roman Catholic church. Seated on one side of the altar were our two candidates, Peter and Michael,  whilst on the other side sat the other two Deacons.


Following the Gospel reading (John 21: 14-17), the Rite of Ordination began with the calling up of the candidates for presentation to Bishop Declan by Monsignor Andrew Burnham. Then began the process of Election whereby, having been judged to be worthy of their calling and with the consent of all present, they were duly elected to the priesthood by Bishop Declan. 

Perhaps one of the most moving parts of the Mass came with the Laying on of Hands when Bishop Declan laid his hands on the head of each candidate in complete silence, an action that was followed by each of the priests present.Their priestly vestments of stole andc hasuble were then placed upon them, signifying their new vocation.  

What must surely have been the climax of their Ordination was the Presentation of Gifts, when the Bishop presented both their chalice and their paten to the newly ordained priests. Each of them stood at the head of a long line of communicants. For the first time, as a Catholic priest, they were able to offer the Holy Eucharist; it was clearly a highly significant moment for them.

At the end of Mass, there was an opportunity for anyone who wished it to receive a blessing from one or more of the four priests. Queues of people quickly formed. One of the very first to receive a blessing from Fr. Peter Clarke was his wife, Ann; it was difficult to tell who was the more delighted. 

We will look forward to seeing more of Fr. Peter as we go through the summer.   
The four Fathers (Andrew, Peter, Saji and Peter) together