From the Principal
On the weekend, a dozen or so staff from the Senior School travelled to Melbourne for the ordination of Kieran Gill. Father Gill SJ, as he is now, is well known to many of us since he spent over two years with us as a novice from January 2014 to July 2016. Since then he has been studying at Boston College in the USA, in preparation for his priestly ministry. Andy Nguyen was also ordained at the same time, and it was lovely to witness these two young men sharing this unique event together.
St Ignatius’ Church, Richmond, was packed with family, friends, well-wishers, and many, many Jesuits. There was an obvious grandeur to seeing all these members of the Society of Jesus processing in together, but the warmth and love on display ensured that it was a celebration rich in meaning and emotion and not in pomp or formality – the overwhelming sense was one of joy! Bishop O’Kelly presided, and his relationship with both young men and his knowledge of their formation added another layer of meaning to the service.
On Sunday morning, Kieran celebrated his first mass as a priest at the Newman College Chapel, once again with many supporters present.
Over the weekend, at morning teas following the ordination and first mass and at the community barbeque on Saturday night, I was fortunate to catch up with a range of people who have had an association either directly or indirectly with our community over the years, and I was struck by how positively they spoke of us. A number of them were Jesuits, young, old, and in-between, but there were also those from other Province ministries and friendships, and they all happily shared with me anecdotes, memories, and stories of their experience of Saint Ignatius, Adelaide. Once again, I was reminded that we belong to a very large Ignatian family indeed, and this is a great blessing for us.
As the events of the weekend concluded, I reflected on the leap of faith that both Kieran and Andy had just made. Our Church, quite understandably bruised and battered as it is, needs young men such as these to minister God’s Word, faithfully and lovingly to believers. We pray for their future ministry.
With wonderful good fortune and providence, the Provincial, Father McCoy, has missioned Kieran to the Norwood parish for the next six months and so, happily, we may benefit from having this young priest in our midst.
Following the amazing celebrations on the weekend, quite remarkably I experienced another moment of grace at the Junior School on Wednesday morning as around 600 grandparents and special friends joined us for a visit and a liturgy.
I will leave it to others to reflect more broadly on this activity and confine myself simply to observing that our students are much loved by their elders, and that our community enjoys extraordinary support from this same group. We pray, too, in thanks for them.
Mr Peter Coffey
Mr Peter Coffey, Fr Kieran Gill SJ and Fr Peter Hosking SJ
Fr Gill SJ blessing Mrs Gabby Puntillo