The Royal Australian Navy welcomed its first permanent deacon with the ordination of RAN Chaplain Deacon Graham Swan on Saturday 22 August at St Mary’s Cathedral.
Bishop Max Davis of the Australian Military Ordinariate ordained Deacon Swan on the day.
a wonderful day
“The day itself was a wonderful day. I felt a great warmth and the presence of God was tangible in the Cathedral,” said Deacon Graham.
Bishop Davis told The Catholic Weekly the need for more Catholic chaplains in the Navy is crucial, including the diaconate. “It is so delightful that we have been able to bring in a deacon with such great service experience,” said Bishop Davis.
“We have been, for years, struggling to find enough Catholic chaplains to look after our people in the military.”
Deacon Swan, an experienced sailor, is serving on his third tour in the Navy. He joined the RAN in 1980 where he served as a submarine officer. After feeling called by the Holy Spirit in 2008, he began what he describes as a journey of faith and service – one which was not without its tragic challenges.
profoundly humbled by the love
“It took 12 years for that process to work through the Holy Spirit’s time and a number of events in our family’s life, including the tragic loss of our daughter, all of which builds into the fullness of the formation of and the depth of awareness of God’s presence in our lives as a family,” he said.
“With the support of friends and family and the love of the Holy Spirit I am actually very excited to be given this pathway in life. I am profoundly humbled by the love and support that has been shown to me on the journey thus far.
“I hope to be able to bring Christ’s love into the lives of the sailors.”