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New Jesuit priest ordained


There was great joy on Friday, June 24 – the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – as a large number of people gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Brickdam for the ordination of Rev Joel Thompson SJ to the priesthood.

In his homily, Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB referenced that the ordination day was the same day that St Ignatius of Loyola was ordained priest.

In Jesuit tradition, the Church commemorated St Aloysius Gonzaga earlier that week. St Aloysius lived in a time of pandemic himself, a time of plague, and at an early age of sixteen, he gave of what was expected of him.

“And I’m sure brother, many would have shared with you over the years what they may have expected of you, they would have their own sense of what your gifts are and where best you might invest them….Like St Aloysius, others may have expressed their expectations of you, and you yourself would have had other options – you are a qualified engineer, you are a qualified musician, you could have migrated, among some of the options that might have been before you,” Bishop Alleyne said in his homily, according to a Catholic Standard report.

He underscored that persons were gathered that day “because you, like Aloysius, like many of the saints, like many of our Sisters and other Religious who are with us today and who have had such a vital part to play in the life of the Church, looked at other choices, amidst the options, what is the thing that really mattered.”

Bishop Alleyne referred to the two Jesuit priests killed inside a church in Mexico June 20. They, he opined, would have been certainly living under constant threat of violence, but chose to live with and accompany the people who would be susceptible and vulnerable to that violence.

“So those choices to further God’s kingdom and to do so at the cost of putting aside the other options, at the cost even sometimes, of exposing ourselves to threats ….”

He reminded Rev Thompson that this is vocation, this is what is stirred in his own heart, this is what is unique to him “and may you always treasure it and nurture it. And may that same spirit touch many hearts.”

Bishop Alleyne commented that Fr Thompson’s ordination also falls in the time of Synod. “And so, Pope Francis is asking the Church to really look at this …and to accompany the people of God along that way of being, ways of being Church. Pope Francis invites us to dream of that – as I processed at the beginning of our celebration, and you hear the vibrance: dance and song and prayer – this is Church! This is what we are called to be, not only when we have these special occasions, and not only when we gather in worship, but to always be rejoicing in the Lord.”

The newly ordained priest was vested with the stole and chasuble by Fr Carl Philadelphia, Diocesan Vocations Director, and members of his family.

At the conclusion of the ordination rite, the Bishop greeted Fr Thompson, then presented him to the congregation, saying “I give you Fr Joel Thompson!” to which the gathering responded with hearty applause.

Fr Thompson thanked his parents, twin brother Justin, family, friends, those who played a part in his formation, and those involved in the planning and implementation of the ordination liturgy and reception. He also thanked members of the congregation who came from across the Diocese.

He will be stationed in the South Rupununi, serving the communities there.