The Church may be going through difficult times but Catholics can trust that it is of God and guided by the Holy Spirit, a newly ordained priest urged during his first Mass in Sydney.
St Felix de Valois parish came alive on 26 May as it hosted the first Mass celebrated in Sydney by Somascan Religious Fr Chris De Sousa CRS.
Ordained only a fortnight earlier in Perth, Fr De Sousa travelled to Sydney to offer a Mass of thanksgiving for those who were unable to attend his 11 May Ordination.
Hundreds of friends, family and former colleagues packed the Bankstown parish to witness Fr Chris celebrating Mass alongside Fr Daniel McCaughan, administrator at Sutherland parish, and Resident Deacon Ronnie Maree.
During his homily, Fr Chris reflected on the four marks of the Church: being one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic, and spoke on the trust of the Apostles that the Church was being shaped under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
“Brothers and sisters, we are aware that Our Church is suffering greatly at present, as it has at other times throughout our history, which is why it is important for us to contemplate on these truths, these four marks of the Church,” said Fr Chris.
“Just like in tonight’s Gospel passage, Christ knows what is going to happen. He knew what would happen to Him, what will happen to his disciples, and He knows what will happen to His Church, to Our Church.
“And Christ not only knows what will happen, He is in charge of it. So when Our Lord consoles us by saying, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid,’ we can trust Him. He is the Lord; He is in control.”
At the conclusion of Mass, everyone retired to the parish hall to share in a meal and to receive a first blessing.
“It was a great privilege to offer a Thanksgiving Mass at St Felix where I have been received so well over the past five years,” said Fr Chris.
“To have parishioners, former colleagues and fellow WYD 2011 pilgrims before me as I celebrated Holy Mass in thanksgiving for their love, support and prayers was an overwhelming moment of grace.”
Over 1000 people joined the Australian Somascan community at Perth’s Spearwood Parish to witness Fr Chris being ordained by Bishop Donald Sproxton.
Father De Sousa became the first Australian priestly vocation in the Order’s 500-year history.