“You are ready.”
With these words, Auxiliary Bishop Michael Gielen gave encouragement to newly-ordained Society of Mary priest Fr Benedict D’Souza.
Fr D’Souza was ordained by Bishop Gielen on November 27 (check) at the Sacred Heart church in Ponsonby, Auckland. Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn and Society of Mary provincial Fr Timothy Duckworth, SM, were present at the ordination.
In his homily, Bishop Gielen told Fr D’Souza that he (Fr D’Souza) need not be perfect, but the bishop stressed the need to be intimate with God.
“It is a great mystery that, through our brokenness, often God’s mercy shines brightest. All he asks of you today, Ben, is you offer all of yourself. Not just your strengths and your courage, but also your weakness and your brokenness. Trust him to work through in ways you can scarcely believe today,” Bishop Gielen said.
Bishop Gielen also reminded the new priest to be faithful to his (Fr D’Souza’s) “daily encounters with God” just as Moses was.
“[Moses] . . . spent time in the meeting tent where the Lord would speak to him face-to-face. It was through this relationship of trust and intimacy [that] he was able to lead the people of God out of slavery and into the promised land,” Bishop Gielen said.
“Moses had no road map,” the bishop added, “Moses calibrated his compass every day as he entered into God’s presence. So with you, Ben.”
Bishop Gielen said that, through their relationship with Jesus, the apostles came to know true love.
“Their formation was complete. They’d learnt to love. They were not perfect, we note. The next few days for the disciples will highlight their many weaknesses and frailties. However, they have learnt to trust Jesus completely, to love him with all their lives,” he said.
Bishop Gielen also called on Fr D’ Souza to “give all of yourself”.
Fr D’Souza joined the Marist seminary in 2013. He was born in Bombay, India and moved to New Zealand with his family in 2000.
According to his profile on the Marist seminary website, he attended Marcellin College in Auckland, where he was taught by the Marist Brothers and got to know Marist priests who were college chaplains.
“After school I went to the University of Auckland and graduated in 2010 with a BSc in Marine Biology. In 2011 I studied for a Graduate Diploma in Education to teach biology, science and RE in secondary Schools. I was at Catholic Discipleship College in 2012 and was blessed to have Fr Neil Vaney, SM, as our chaplain. One of the reasons that I joined up is that I have seen many great Marists serve the Church in their own way and I would like to do the same.
At the ordination Mass, Fr Duckworth thanked everyone who joined in the celebration, both at Ponsonby and through livestreaming.
Meanwhile, Kiwi Marist seminarian Hayden Powick, who hails from Wakefield, near Nelson, was ordained to the diaconate by Rome Auxiliary Bishop Guerino Di Tora on November 21.
His diaconate ordination was livestreamed from the parish church of Santa Francesca Cabrini in Rome.
Covid-19 restrictions in Italy meant the number of people allowed to attend physically was limited to a select few.