Richard (aged 73) is a retired Anglican minister who after training as a teacher, entered and served in Anglican orders for 40 years. He was ordained a Transitory Deacon in the Catholic Church at Poringland in May.
He was ordained by Bishop Alan Hopes at the 11am Mass at St John’s with his wife Janet (a teacher), his three daughters, three grandchildren and other family and friends in the large congregation.
In his homily, Bishop Alan said: “Out of the priestly people of God, God calls and chooses men to be his priests who will serve and care for his people on their journey. Richard, God has called you and chosen you for the priesthood in the Catholic Church – this is part of your journey towards the Father’s House.
“At the heart of your life and work as a priest, Richard, must be love – you must be a shepherd of God’s love. Status, power and security can never be at the heart of the priest. At the heart of our lives must be love – always thinking of the flock, of God’s people who he asks us to look after – people in the parish, couples getting married, families coming for Baptism, the staff and patients of a local hospital, the elderly housebound and so on.”
During the Mass, Bishop Alan laid his hands on Richard’s head, he prostrated himself before God and received the vestments of priesthood.
He was also anointed with the sacred oil of Chrism and he received the bread on the paten and the wine and water in the chalice.
After the ordination Mass, family and friends enjoyed a buffet lunch in the cathedral Narthex.
Fr Richard said: “Truly it was one of the most wonderful days of my life. Surrounded by family and Christian brothers and sisters from all stages of that life and supported by prayers from those unable to be present, the deeply moving ceremony, the Sacrament of Ordination, took place within the context of an inspirational Mass where earth touched heaven for many of us; a life-changing step and deeply moving emotional moment which we now, accompanied by the Living Presence of Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, take into our daily lives.
“My gratitude for all that he has done to enable me to discern my vocation over the months and years must go to Bishop Alan who has been a real father in God to me at every stage. Also to the Cathedral family for their warm welcome and patient encouragement and the superb music and liturgy on the day,” said Richard.
“My pilgrim path has been a long one, but I can only say that the joy and sense of arriving home at last, when I was received into the Church before the Easter Vigil at Ampleforth, Easter 2012, was a supreme moment in my life.
“My reason for leaving the Anglican Church was chiefly the lack of true authority and a yearning to be in Communion with the Bishop of Rome. Bl John Henry Newman, Ampleforth, Belmont Abbey and Mount St Bernard’s Abbey have been inspirations in the last seven years as a Catholic and together with the gracious concern and guidance of Bishop Alan the discernment process has been positive and fulfilling.”
Fr Richard has been appointed by Bishop Alan as the new Parish Priest of The Sacred Heart Southwold, following the retirement of Fr Roger De Lacy-Spencer in September. A group from the parish were present at the ordination to support Fr Richard