Aussie joy in Rome for deacon

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Present at the Ordination to the Deaconate of seminarian Bijoy Joseph was Sydney priest Fr Josh Miechels of the Emmanuel Community, far left. Photo: Fr Josh Miechels
Present at the Ordination to the Deaconate of seminarian Bijoy Joseph was Sydney priest Fr Josh Miechels of the Emmanuel Community, far left. Photo: Fr Josh Miechels

Sydney Archdiocese seminarian Bijoy Joseph was one of 21 men ordained a deacon in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome last week.

US Cardinal Wilton Gregory ordained the seminarians from the Pontifical North American College in Rome in a Mass concelebrated by Cardinal George Pell, former prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy and Cardinal James Harvey, archpriest of the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls.

“The joy at the basilica was evident, not simply on the faces of the ordinands, but on those of their families, marked not just by smiles and laughs but by tears.”

It was the young seminarians’ first formal laying down of their lives in the service of God’s people and viewed online around the world due to COVID restrictions.

The talented cricketer and member of the Pope’s own Vatican team was one of two Australians ordained; the other was Andrew John Kwiatkowski for the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

During the ordination ceremony, the new deacons committed themselves to a life of prayer, celibacy and obedience.

Sydney Seminarian Richard Sofatzis, Domus Australia Rector Fr Bob Hayes, newly ordained deacon Bijoy Joseph, Sydney priests Fr Joseph Hamilton and Fr Luca Infantino gather at Domus after Deacon Bijoy’s ordination. Photo: Via Domus Australia
Sydney Seminarian Richard Sofatzis, Domus Australia Rector Fr Bob Hayes, newly ordained deacon Bijoy Joseph, Sydney priests Fr Joseph Hamilton and Fr Luca Infantino gather at Domus after Deacon Bijoy’s ordination. Photo: Via Domus Australia

Sydney priest Fr Josh Miechels attended the Ordination and said it was marked by three things, “joy, youth and drama”.

“The joy at the basilica was evident, not simply on the faces of the ordinands, but on those of their families, marked not just by smiles and laughs but by tears,” he said.

“Then of course there was the youth: counterbalancing the centuries-old art and architecture surrounding us.

“… on this spot where the martyred Peter made a total gift of himself to the glory of the Risen Christ and the service of humanity, a group of ordinary young people … being helped to do exactly the same thing enveloped and encouraged by the Church in all her states of life.”

“And finally the drama, on this spot where the martyred Peter made a total gift of himself to the glory of the Risen Christ and the service of humanity, a group of ordinary young people, some Australian, of the Google Age being helped to do exactly the same thing enveloped and encouraged by the Church in all her states of life, in communion with the faith and successor of this Apostle Jesus himself acts through.”

Deacon Joseph will undergo a further year of theological studies and spiritual formation before returning to Sydney for ordination to the priesthood.