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Archbishop: Be a sign of God’s reconciliation with the people

– Ordination of Fr Jonathan Steele O Carm

By Kaelanne Jordan


Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon delivered a powerful homily during the ordination of Deacon Jonathan Patrick Steele O Carm to the priesthood on May 25 at Mary Immaculate Queen of the Universe RC in Bourg Mulatresse, lower Santa Cruz.

The Archbishop emphasised that a priest’s role is not merely to deliver a message and depart but rather to embody the message itself. He stated, “The message is tied with your person; you cannot give the message if you’re not living the message.”

The message the Archbishop referred to is the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which is a gift from Christ entrusted to the lineage of the Church. He questioned, “What is a priest if he is not a minister of reconciliation? What is a priest?”

The Archbishop explained that while as a deacon, Rev Steele had authority to baptise, officiate marriages, and perform other duties, he could not reconcile people to God.

Archbishop Gordon stated the ministry of reconciliation is the “Source and summit of the whole of the Catholic faith.” He underscored that all ministries are rooted in reconciliation, and the priest must be at the “centre” of reconciliation. “That means that it’s not just dispensing sacraments…he becomes a sign of reconciliation, a sign of unity, a sign of God’s love and a sign of gathering and holding people together in Christ.”

The Archbishop warned against the hypocrisy of a priest “speaking beautiful words from a pulpit and acting terribly towards his people.” He acknowledged that while the Church could previously tolerate some bad relationships, the modern Church must become the message of reconciliation that God intends for the faithful.

Addressing Rev Steele directly, Archbishop Gordon said that from now on, it’s not about what Rev Steele wants but about what God wants and is asking of him. He reminded the deacon that by taking a vow of obedience, he is pledging obedience to God, his superior, and the entire Church to dedicate his whole life to pursuing the will of God.

He said, “This is the invitation to put on the mind of Christ and to understand not only do you become a priest today, but that your discipleship has to go to new places because it’s not just about the powers or the things that you can do as a priest; it’s the way that your soul needs to be configured to Christ.”

The Archbishop further reminded Rev Steele that he is called to be a saint: “A priest who does not believe he’s called to [be] a saint is a ‘challenge’ for the people of God and for his bishop.”

The pursuit of sanctity, is integral, “because if Christ has called us and the love of Christ has overwhelmed us, there is nothing short of sanctity that we must be aiming at.”

Archbishop Gordon beseeched Rev Steele to “always subject his discernment to his authority figure” and “always live in that humility of giving over your will to Christ through the community you are part of and through this Church that you are part of.”

For his ordination, Fr Steele selected Isaiah 61:1–3 as the First Reading, 2 Corinthians 5:14–20 as the Second Reading, and John 20:19–23 as the Gospel.

Prior Provincial of the St Elias Province, Fr Mario Esposito O Carm delivered the Vote of Thanks.