Joy for new priest

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Bishop Mark Edwards OMI accepts a vow of obedience from the ordinand. Photo: Thomas Denahy
Bishop Mark Edwards OMI accepts a vow of obedience from the ordinand. Photo: Thomas Denahy

It was with great joy that family and friends of Connell Perry witnessed his ordination to the priesthood by Wagga Wagga Bishop Mark Edwards OMI on 11 September.

Just 48 hours prior, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian had lifted a snap lockdown for the Riverina region after deeming it a low-risk area.

It allowed about 100 people to join the 26-year-old at St Michael’s Cathedral for his special day, including his parents who prepared to watch the ceremony online from their home in Albury.

“It still would have been a special day, but I’m delighted for you and for us that you can be here,” Bishop Edwards told them.

“The awesome blessing and incredible love that God has bestowed on me, all the way through my life but especially in this moment through ordination to the priesthood, leaves me feeling both overwhelmed and overjoyed.”

Priests of the diocese also gathered to concelebrate the Mass of Ordination with the bishop, to pray with and for the ordinand, and lay hands on him.

It was the culmination of six years of intense study, prayer, and personal and spiritual growth, including at the Vianney College seminary where a 10-year-old Connell had served as an altar server.

In his homily, Bishop Edwards said that in the current times of uncertainty, a priest is called to offer people hope in a unique way.

Fr Connell Perry with the Missionaries of Charity. Photo: Thomas Denahy
Fr Connell Perry with the Missionaries of Charity. Photo: Thomas Denahy

At the conclusion of the Ordination Mass, Fr Perry told the congregation that it was the happiest day of his life.

“The awesome blessing and incredible love that God has bestowed on me, all the way through my life but especially in this moment through ordination to the priesthood, leaves me feeling both overwhelmed and overjoyed.”

Thanking Our Lady, his patron saints and guardian angel, rector and seminary staff, clergy of the diocese and others, he also expressed gratitude to Bishop Edwards.

“I am very grateful for the leadership and fatherly care you have shown not only to me but to our whole diocese,” he said.

“Fr Perry celebrated his First Mass in his home parish of Holy Spirit in Lavington the following day, again with his family in attendance and a small choir.”

“Thank you so much. I look forward to being a co-worker with you in the missionary work ahead.”

Thanking his “dear beautiful family”, Fr Perry especially praised his parents for their many sacrifices, love and support, and told his eight siblings that he loved them and hoped they would help to keep him a humble priest.

Fr Perry celebrated his First Mass in his home parish of Holy Spirit in Lavington the following day, again with his family in attendance and a small choir.

Following this, accompanied by his family, Fr Perry consecrated his priesthood to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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