On the Feast of St Augustine of Canterbury, Archbishop John Wilson of Southwark celebrated Mass and the Rite of Candidacy at Allen Hall Seminary.
Paolo Gambardella and Sean Power from Westminster, Stephen Trafford from Southwark, and Gary Carter and Scott Coleman from Arundel and Brighton were all admitted to Candidacy at the Mass on Saturday 27th May,
As Archbishop John explained in his homily, Candidacy is the point at which ‘a seminarian has reached a maturity of intention, confirmed by the Church. It marks a depth of interior relationship with Christ which makes a seminarian humanly, spiritually, intellectually and pastorally ready to finish his preparation and equip himself for ordination.’
Addressing the candidates, he affirmed that ‘there is a gravitas about your commitment, and about your readiness to continue to be configured to Christ, from the inside out, towards diaconate and priesthood.’
An important moment in the Mass comes when the candidates express this commitment: ‘With the Church’s approval, you are to declare that you are willing to hand over not only the Good News, but your whole lives as well – your whole lives, holding nothing back, not hiding, except in the Lord. It is only the movement from self-discovery to self-acceptance before God that enables your free and faithful self-gift.’
Reflecting on his recent visit to Fatima, Archbishop John said: ‘There was nowhere to hide from the Lord’s radical call to conversion. We know it can be challenging to face ourselves before the Lord Jesus. But the intimate beauty of his friendship, and our desire, like the seventy-two, to trust the Lord’s call, provides everything we need for the journey – everything.’
The Rite of Admission to Candidacy ‘hinges solely on the state of your heart,’ he added, and the readiness ‘to say “yes” to wherever the Lord leads, and whatever the Lord asks.’
Please pray for the men as they continue their formation towards priesthood.
Archbishop John Wilson’s full homily is available here.
(Pictured with Archbishop John Wilson (left to right) are Paolo Gambardella, Gary Carter, Sean Power, Scott Coleman and Stephen Trafford)