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‘Fr Chris’ celebrates 20 years of priesthood

Joining Fr Christopher Lumsden (centre) at the altar were (from left) Fr Matthew Ragbir, Deacon Derek Walcott, Msgr Michael de Verteuil and Fr Roger Paponette. Photo: Gerard-Paul Wanliss

The man says ‘yes’ to the priesthood but the most precious gift is how God uses the ‘yes’ to allow His mysteries to be known to many people.

Archbishop Jason Gordon discussed the vocation of priesthood as he gave the homily at Mass, January 24 at Living Water Community’s chapel, Frederick Street, in celebration of Episcopal Vicar for the Northern Vicariate, Fr Christopher Lumsden’s 20th anniversary of priestly ordination.

Reflecting on the letter of St Paul to the Ephesians and identifying some qualities for the priesthood, Archbishop Gordon noted St Paul acknowledges his unworthiness, being ‘least’ of all the saints and understood the call received was not due to anything great in himself.

Paul, who persecuted the Church, was entrusted with a special grace. “Paul was called to proclaim the Good News; one of the things [the] priest is called to do is proclaim the Good News,” Archbishop Gordon said. The grace St Paul had was twofold: to proclaim the Good News to pagans and explain the mystery (verse 9) of what God has done in Christ.

Sin brought death but, through God’s grace, there is reconciliation and life, Archbishop Gordon said, “Here is another characteristic of the priest…we are calling people to reconciliation and [in] that call to reconciliation, we must not only call with our lips and our voice.”

He told Fr Lumsden that he is called to be a priest for another 20 years “and then some”, in an age when the mysteries had to be proclaimed with boldness. The priest knows he is inadequate but despite shortcomings is reliant on God.

Archbishop Gordon added, “…through faith, we know this Church wedded to Christ will bring all people to Christ, and bring that side of the incredible love between God and His people.”

Archbishop Gordon said the gospel showed love is the “epicentre” of the mystery of Christ which was manifested through His life, death and resurrection.

Another characteristic of priesthood is to love the way Christ loved, and give one’s life for the sake of Christ and His Church. The Archbishop told Fr Lumsden as he celebrated his 20th anniversary may he continue to say “‘yes’, in deeper and deeper ways”. – LPG