JOHN Echewodo and Bryan Roe, from the Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary at Banyo, have become Brisbane archdiocese’s newest “transitional deacons”.
Auxiliary Bishop Brian Finnigan of Brisbane led proceedings at the June 17 Mass in Holy Spirit Chapel, Banyo, for their ordination to the diaconate.
Deacon Echewodo is the “first Nigerian missionary to be ordained for Brisbane”, seminary rector Monsignor Tony Randazzo said.
Brother seminarians led the singing at the Mass among more than a dozen clergy, family members, friends and other supporters from around the archdiocese, including retired Bishop John Gerry.
During his homily Bishop Finnigan said, “We are living in exciting times as part of the Church”, and spoke of the various liturgical feast days marked recently.
“Sacred scripture speaks to us of ordained ministry,” he said.
“It’s our privilege to pray for Bryan and John … both have a sense of call by God … as ordained transitional deacons on their way to priesthood.”
Bishop Finnigan noted the presence of Deacon Roe’s parents Bill and Marie Roe, and the “union in the communion of saints” Deacon Echewodo experiences with his parents, who are deceased.
He also spoke of the role of celibacy in priesthood especially in what he described as “a sex crazed world”.
“Celibacy for the kingdom is living out the baptismal call in a more radical way,” Bishop Finnigan said.
He said the commitment required “generosity and cheerful love … (and) not half-heartedness”.
“We rejoice Bryan and John have heard the call and have responded,” he said.
During the Liturgy of Ordination Msgr Randazzo spoke of the journey both men had taken towards the diaconate and “found them to be worthy”.
The newly-ordained deacons were presented with the Book of the Gospels, Bishop Finnigan saying, “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are.
“Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practise what you teach.”
Deacon Roe’s sister and brother Paul Roe and Michelle Quince presented the gifts of bread and wine, along with Sharon McCourt, from Stella Maris parish, Maroochydore, whom Deacon Echewodo refers to as “Mum”.
As the Mass continued, the seminary community continued to lead all those gathered with inspired voice.
In the days following the ordination liturgy and Mass Deacons Roe and Echewodo both expressed the joy experienced during and since June 17.
“I’m just on cloud nine,” Deacon Roe said from his pastoral placement in Ipswich and after having preached at three weekend Masses.
Preaching was something he had been nervous about, he said.
“I really enjoy it now,” he said.
“It’s just so wonderful getting to talk of the Gospels that are so rich.”
Deacon Roe said he had also blessed a small group of Holy Communicants he visits every Friday, saying they were “all very excited”.
Next month he will move to Brisbane to serve in the St Stephen’s Cathedral parish, first as a deacon and then as a priest.
Deacon Echewodo is preparing to move to Surfers Paradise parish.
He said he was “trying to get used to the new life” after giving four weekend homilies, celebrating a baptism and offering Communion to the sick.
Deacon Echewodo said the ordination liturgy and Mass was “very beautiful” and his placement in Surfers Paradise would provide “lots of opportunities to be active and be involved” as he has been in Jubilee parish.