The Archdiocese of Kingston, Jamaica was strengthened July 10 with the ordination of a son of the soil, Deacon Ricardo Perkins SJ to the priesthood. Venue was the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity.
In delivering his homily, ordaining prelate Archbishop Kenneth Richards of Kingston reminded the new priest that the downfall of humanity began when Adam and Eve allowed themselves to be distracted by the words of the Devil: ‘Did God really mean for you not to eat from this tree?’.
The Archbishop asserted that this temptation is indeed relevant for today. In describing Deacon Perkins as a man “grounded in the Word of God”, Archbishop Richards appealed to Deacon Perkins to lead his flock to recognise that it is not by feelings nor opinions, but by faith, that they must engage the ministry and life of the church.
“And so, warn your people of those tempting words: ‘Did God really mean it this way?’. Truly give them the instruction and direction that they’ll need so that together with you, you can establish an effective ministry for the transformation of the temporal order so that things will once again be aligned in relationship to God, His providence and His will,” the Archbishop said.
He then called on the deacon to “not act”, but rather, develop the habit of living so that people can know that by his ministry and presence, a man of Jesus Christ is in their midst.
Archbishop Richards commented that he hoped the Holy Spirit will begin a “chain reaction” in Deacon Perkins, connecting all the dots of his formation in preparation for the priesthood.
He reminded the deacon to acknowledge the grace of the Holy Spirit that will work in his life and the “awesome” responsibility being entrusted to him to act in the persona of Christ.
“Accept this responsibility intentionally to be faithful to the divine persona. You must reveal by your life and ministry, Jesus Christ. For this reason, take seriously the reality check offered by the Pastores Dabo Vobis because it gives a context to the mission that you are to fulfil as a priest.”
The Pastores Dabo Vobis is an apostolic exhortation released on March 25, 1992, by Pope John Paul II. It concerns the formation of Catholic priests and is addressed to both clergy and the lay faithful.
He continued, “And I quote ‘the formation of future priests is considered by the Church one of the most demanding and important tasks for future evangelization of humanity’.”
Speaking directly to Deacon Perkins, the Archbishop explained that the future priest that Pope John Paul II speaks about in his post synodal apostolic exhortation is “now present for you today. You are that priest,” he asserted.
Archbishop Richards warned the deacon that his friendship with Jesus must not be taken for granted. “Meaning there must not be an absence of devotion, sacrifice and commitment to this relationship.”
Explaining the significance of this, the Archbishop said, “the Church entrusts to us who are priests and religious the responsibility of the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours. It is by this that we allow ourselves to be immersed in the Word of God, to enlighten us because now as you live in persona Christi, you lean not unto your own understanding, but you allow yourself to be grounded in Revelation, the Word of God, the enlightenment that comes from the Holy Spirit and this can only be facilitated if you truly encounter Jesus Christ.”
Among those gathered for the ordination Mass were Fr Perkin’s mother Joyce Muffman and sister Marsha. Among the concelebrating clergy were Archbishop Emeritus Donald Reece of Kingston and a contingent of visiting clergy, the majority, Jesuits.
Deacon Winston Burton proclaimed the Gospel (Lk 10:1–9).
The newly ordained priest was invested with his stole and chasuble by Frs Glen Chun and Garvin Augustine.