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Precious moments at first Masses

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Drummers and musicians perform to welcome Fr Benjamin Saliba following his first Mass. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Drummers and musicians perform to welcome Fr Benjamin Saliba following his first Mass. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Sydney celebrated its five new clergy at first Masses on Sunday 7 August with words of praise and thanksgiving for the enduring gift of priesthood.

Ordinations are a sign that “God always keeps his promises”, Fr Daniel McCaughan preached in a joyous homily for Fr Adrian Simmons’ first Mass at St Patrick’s Sutherland.

“Every time a man is ordained to the priesthood, it is a definitive proclamation from God again to not be afraid, because your heavenly Father wants to give you the kingdom,” Fr McCaughan said.

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“In a very particular way, God has chosen to bless our beautiful Archdiocese of Sydney with five more men who hold the very instruments of salvation.”

Fr McCaughan emphasised that God makes his priests out of “weak vessels … vessels that come from the same stock and background as everybody else”.

“And yet from that same clay, from which every member of the people of God is made, God picks out certain men and says: in your frail clay, I want to entrust the treasures of salvation.”

“That have the same virtues and also the same vices. That have the same strengths and weaknesses.

“And yet from that same clay, from which every member of the people of God is made, God picks out certain men and says: in your frail clay, I want to entrust the treasures of salvation.”

Fr Benjamin Saliba’s first Mass saw a different celebration in the best Lebanese fashion, with a circle of drummers and musicians thundering away after Mass to welcome the newly-ordained priest.

After removing his vestments, Fr Saliba was lifted up on the musicians’ shoulders to laughter and applause.

And on Saturday evening Fr Benjamin Gandy celebrated a more solemn tradition at St Benedict’s, Broadway: the gift of the maniturgium, the cloth with which the priests hands are cleaned of Chrism oil, to his mother.

Fr Gandy and his family were moved to tears as he told the congregation that the maniturgium would be buried with his mother, so she could tell the Lord she had given him a priest.

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