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Monday, July 15, 2024
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Capuchin Friars welcome new deacon at St Fiacre’s

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Left: Fr Robert Stewart OFM Cap, provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in Australia. Centre: Deacon Matthew Timonera. Right: Bishop Donald Lippert OFM Cap of Mendi, Papua New Guinea. Photo: Supplied.

After years of formation, and with his ordination to the diaconate approaching, Br Matthew Timonero was asked by his ordaining bishop to ask himself an important question: “Am I an atheist?” 

“While this would seem a strange thing to ask myself, the question of practical atheism in my own life had to be honestly answered,” Deacon Matthew told The Catholic Weekly 

“It can be very easy, I think, to get caught up in so many activities that one forgets where/that God is in the midst of it all.  

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“This was especially the case in being busy with my academic studies (especially in trying to understand philosophy) and even in the particular case of organising logistics for my ordination.  

“With these examples, it is easy even for a religious to lose sight of the spirit of prayer … ordination to the diaconate had to be a conversion again.  

“If the diaconate is about serving as Christ served, then that’s not something taken lightly.” 

Deacon Matthew was ordained on 28 June at St Fiacre’s Church in Leichhardt.  

The intimate event, with no more than 60 in attendance, marked a pivotal moment in his journey in the Capuchin Order, following his perpetual profession of vows in September last year. 

Friars, Deacon Matthew’s family, and friends of the Capuchins were present for the ordination, which was performed by Bishop Donald Lippert OFM Cap, who made a special trip from Mendi, Papua New Guinea.  

Vocations director for the Capuchin Friars, Fr Christopher Maher OFM Cap, said, “being one of our Capuchins, [the bishop] was more than happy to come over and ordain Matthew, which is great.”  

Fr Christopher, who also served as the master of ceremonies, chuckled when asked about Br Matthew’s demeanour on the day. 

“Well, I was quite busy getting everything ready, but he seemed calm to be honest and ready to take the next step,” he said.  

Reflecting on Deacon Matthew’s future in clerical ministry, Fr Christopher expressed excitement and optimism.  

“He is a very gifted man, and I really hope that he is able to express these gifts in clerical ministry for the good of the people of God.” 

The Capuchins’ new deacon has been involved with various charitable activities, including working at a soup kitchen at St Peter and St Paul’s South Melbourne, where he lived out his post-novitiate.  

Now back in Sydney, he also assists with a coffee van ministry aimed at serving the poor. 

“What I do as a deacon, serving at the altar of the Lord, should speak to and from serving the people of the Lord,” Deacon Matthew said. 

“It is funny that no less than an hour after the ordination to the diaconate, that someone asks, ‘When will you be ordained to the priesthood?’ 

“I think that before I can become a priest and offer the sacrifice of the Mass in the person of Christ, I really have to be able to serve, in the person of Christ, so to speak.  

“I no doubt will have to learn more about other ways of serving, whether it be in a pastoral context of a parish or in making time to visit the sick and housebound as a deacon.” 

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