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Deacon Rohrlach fulfils dream of service

Life of service: Deacon Neville Rohrlach.

Life of service: Deacon Neville Rohrlach.

By Paul Dobbyn

NEVILLE Rohrlach has realised a dream spanning more than 50 years with his ordination as deacon into the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.

Brisbane Auxiliary Bishop Brian Finnigan ordained the Wishart man into the permanent diaconate at St Benedict’s Church, East Brisbane, on January 20.

He is now a deacon in the parish of St Thomas À Becket, which worships at St Benedict’s Church.

The retired mechanical engineer, who has worked in managerial roles with BHP and Bechtel, said he had dreamed of serving the Church in some way ever since being an altar boy in St Martin’s Anglican parish, Whyalla, South Australia, in the 1960s.

“As a deacon, to speak in an engineering sort of way, I can now actually get on with the job,” he said.

“I will have the authority to assist at the altar during Mass, to read the Gospel, to preach and to baptise.

“I will also seek a licence to become a marriage celebrant.”

Our Lady of the Southern Cross ordinariate oridinary Monsignor Harry Entwistle said he was pleased to learn of Deacon Rohrlach’s ordination.

“Neville is the ordinariate’s first permanent deacon,” he said.

“He has been faithful to the ordinariate over many years and his piety and devotion to parish work have been exemplary.”

Msgr Entwistle said the ordination was the latest development of the Australian ordinariate, which includes a parish in Coomera and a Mass centre in Labrador.

“It continues to provide for Anglicans who want full Catholic communion yet wish to retain elements of patrimony and tradition,” he said.

“An Englishness missing in Catholicism for 500 years is now coming back into the whole mix.

“The ordinariate is bringing all this back into the Catholic Church, giving a sign of what true unity looks like.”

Deacon Rohrlach married Christine in 1970 and moved to Sydney in 1983.

In 1988, with his wife and three children, he moved to Brisbane.

He would fulfil a long-held dream of studying for a Bachelor of Theology, completing his studies at the Brisbane College of Theology.

In 2007, he joined the Traditional Anglican Communion.

In early 2009, he was ordained a deacon and in December that year was ordained a priest within that communion.

The TAC was accepted into the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in 2012.

Since then Deacon Rohrlach has worshipped at St Benedict’s Church where his parish, “through the courtesy of the Brisbane archdiocese”, takes part in Mass in the ordinariate format every Friday and Sunday morning.

The community also holds Evensong and Benediction on Sunday night.

Deacon Rohrlach was thrilled to be ordained.

“In a sense you can duck around here and there in life – but if one’s mind is truly settled on a course of action then something does materialise in the end,” he said.

Night of faith: Deacon Neville Rohrlach was ordained by Brisbane Auxiliary Bishop Brian Finnigan at St Benedict’s Church, East Brisbane, on January 20.

Night of faith: Deacon Neville Rohrlach was ordained by Brisbane Auxiliary Bishop Brian Finnigan at St Benedict’s Church, East Brisbane, on January 20.

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