DEACON Conor Power has become the first man ordained for the Brisbane Oratory since it was established in 2015.
He said passing the historic milestone was a sign to the Oratory community and to the broader parish community that “we really are committed to our parish and to the people of Brisbane”.
Deacon Power was ordained to the transitional diaconate at a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Mark Coleridge at Mary Immaculate Church, Annerley, on December 21.
“It’s a great joy for us to reach this milestone of our first ordination,” Brisbane Oratory moderator Fr Adrian Sharp said.
“It’s been great for our parishioners, too, who have been journeying with him since he joined us in 2015, and some longer than that since they’ve known him since his childhood, since he is a local of Brisbane.
“We look forward to his priestly ordination, hopefully in the latter half of this year.”
Deacon Power said his ordination was a “beautiful Mass” and a “spectacular day”.
Despite limits placed on attendance because of COVID-19 restrictions, Deacon Power still managed to invite 42 family members to the Mass as well as some close friends and community members.
Two moments especially stuck with him from the day.
“I think when you’re lying face down on the floor of the sanctuary and the Litany of the Saints is being chanted from the choir loft and you can hear everyone in the pews responding along …, and the archbishop is sitting there as well, it kind of crystallises the moment and makes it abundantly clear what you’re asking of the Church and what you’re asking of the archbishop and the beauty of what’s happening as well,” Deacon Power said.
“And just the joy of the people at the end afterwards when we were at the front (of the church),” he said.
“Face after face, smile after smile, it was incredibly encouraging and if you weren’t already enthusiastic you would have been by the end.”
Being ordained four days before the Feast of the Nativity forced out that enthusiasm too as Deacon Power preached three homilies in less than 24 hours over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
“Three homilies for Christmas; it was a bit of a baptism by fire,” he said with a laugh.
“I’m a relatively comfortable public speaker, I’ve done public speaking in jobs prior to following my vocation and it was never an issue but it’s amazing, just the difference when you’re up in front of the people in the pulpit at the lectern,” he said.
“When you actually believe this is the Word of God, it takes on a whole new level; it’s not just some frivolous or meaningless negotiation of something, this is the actual Word of God that you’re trying to help people come closer to and understand better.”
Deacon Power joined the Oratory in 2015 and studied in Toronto and in Rome before he returned to Brisbane in 2019.
He lauded his formators across the world and at home, saying they “give of themselves 100 per cent”.
“Their energy, their enthusiasm and their giving of their time really can’t be matched,” he said.
He said his goals for his diaconate were to fulfil the promises he made before Archbishop Coleridge and to assist the priests with weddings, baptisms and funerals.
Deacon Power had also been named chaplain of the Frassati community, ministering to the men there who were starting out as young professionals or studying.
To any young men who were considering a vocation to the priesthood, Deacon Power said “don’t hold back”.
“Be willing to dare and don’t be afraid to respond because even if you go in for a year and you come out, it won’t be a year wasted – you’ll have learned so much about yourself and come out a better man for it and a more capable person as a result as well,” he said.
Deacon Power said he was grateful to all the “kindness and the assurance of prayers I’ve received from such a wide range of people”.
“It’s just been impossible to keep track of everyone, but I’m really just very appreciative of that, it’s very reassuring and comforting for me.”