The solemn and joyous ordination Mass was presided over by Bishop Peter, with Bishop Emeritus Alan Hopes among the 600 attendees that included 80 priests. Canon John O’Leary, Rector of Allen Hall Seminary, was also in attendance and presented the two candidates to Bishop Peter.
Fr Mark Ashwood, originally from Northern Ireland, moved to Norwich for his PhD. A Catholic convert and former occupational therapist, Fr Mark spent six years studying at Allen Hall in Westminster. His parish is Our Lady and St Walstan in Costessey, near Norwich. Fr Mark has now been appointed as Assistant Priest in St Edmund’s, Bury St Edmunds.
Fr Bienn Carlo Manuntag comes from St Philip Howard Parish in Cambridge, with his family originally from the Philippines. Fr Bienn Carlo spent six years studying at St Mary’s College, Oscott in Birmingham and has now been appointed as Assistant Priest in St Luke’s, Peterborough.
During the ordination, Bishop Peter delivered a moving homily: “Listen to the voice of St Paul in his first letter to Timothy – take great care – be an example to all the believers in the way you speak and behave – be exemplary in faith, love and purity,” he said. “Be united with me, your bishop, and with my successors. Forge worthy and enduring bonds of fraternity with your brother priests. Encourage potential vocations to the priesthood in the hearts of the young. Encourage and support my college of deacons. Bring encouragement and support to the men and women who have consecrated themselves in religious life, share in their joys and sorrows. Be humble servants of God’s holy people, fostering the integrity of faith and the harmony of ecclesial communion through the exercise of a genuine spirit of respect for each and every human person.”
“When you embraced ordination as deacons, you committed yourselves to perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. You know full well that you are called to live your vocation within an environment that is challenging,” Bishop Peter added.
“But with full maturity, listen once more to the words of the council decree – let priests remember, that in carrying out their task, they are never alone, but are supported by the almighty power of God. Believing in Christ who has called them to share in His priesthood, let them devote themselves to their office with all trust, knowing that God is powerful to increase charity in them. Let them remember too that they have their brothers in the priesthood, and indeed the faithful of the entire world, as allies.”
“The pathways that have brought you to this day, to this moment, are amazing. I thank your parents, your families, your friends, your various colleagues and communities, all those who have played a significant part in moulding you. Under the canopy of God’s grace, with the support of a great cohort, you have learned how to cultivate your many gifts. You have willingly and generously crafted lives that have already cultivated an abundance of fruit. Through your ordination to the sacred priesthood, the Lord God is preparing you to enter new landscapes. The Lord God will provide you with seed for the sowing – be eager to plant, to nurture,” Bishop Peter concluded.
With these words echoing through the cathedral, Fr Mark and Fr Bienn Carlo took their vows, therewith embarking on their journey of priesthood.
The ordination was followed by pictures and a shared lunch in the enclosed Cathedral gardens.
Pictured top are from the left, Fr Bienn Carlo, Bishop Peter, Fr Mark Ashwood and Bishop Alan.