Cardinal Vincent ordained seven men to the priesthood at Westminster Cathedral on the Nativity of St John the Baptist, 24th June 2017. Bishop Nicholas Hudson and over 100 priests concelebrated the Mass. Among them were three Jesuits: Michael Holman SJ, Dominic Robinson SJ and Norman Tanner SJ, who had all been involved in the training of the seminarians. Six of the ordinands had studied theology at Heythrop College, and one had studied at Beda College in Rome with Fr Tanner. Fr Robinson has accompanied two of the ordinands with spiritual direction.
The seven men ordained are Rev Julio Albornoz, Rev Michael Jarmulowicz, Rev Michael Maguire, Rev Brian McMahon, Rev Joseph Okoro, Rev Carlos Quito and Rev John Warnaby. They were presented for ordination by Canon Roger Taylor, Rector of Allen Hall Seminary.
Noting that it was the Nativity of St John the Baptist, Cardinal Nichols began his homily saying, ‘What a wonderful day on which to be ordained a priest!’, noting that like the prophet, these men are called by the Father who ‘has chosen you, from all eternity, to be companions to his Son, sharing in his mission, in the power of the Holy Spirit.’
Referring to the ‘four events of sheer destructiveness’ that have taken place over the past three months in London, he focused on the work and ministry of priests in aftermath of the terrible Grenfell Tower fire, bringing ‘a recognisable presence and special comfort and prayer to so many who were bewildered, bereaved or homeless’. He spoke too of their care in the churches, hospitals and schools ministering to those affected by the fire, and at the base of tower offering ‘comfort and encouragement’ to the fire fighters.
He painted a compelling picture as he related how the priests standing together, with one of our bishops, ‘prayed in the heart of that darkness, the site of so many cruel deaths. They prayed for those who had died and they sprinkled that mangled debris with holy water, the sign of God’s presence and of the promise of eternal life.’
‘This, for me, is a most remarkable image of priesthood, etched in sharp detail against that towering, blackened skeleton,’ he said. ‘This is what accompanying people in a pilgrim church actually means: accompanying them in life’s dark valleys, whether cruelly public or hidden in the privacy of a home and a heart; dark places where God is so easily forgotten yet where God is never forgetful of any one of his precious children.’
Fr Dominic Robinson commented “This was a wonderful occasion for the diocese of Westminster, and for the Jesuit role in the formation of its priests. The seven new priests represent a great diversity of experience and backgrounds and will make a great contribution to the parishes of the diocese. We wish them well in their new ministries.”
In September the newly ordained priests will take up their new ministries. Fr Julio Albornoz and Fr Andrew Bowden are appointed Chaplains at Westminster Cathedral, Fr Michael Jarmulowicz is appointed temporary Priest in Charge at Holy Apostles, Pimlico, Fr Michael Maguire goes to Our Lady of Grace and St Edward, Chiswick as Assistant Priest, Fr Brian McMahon will take up the role of Assistant Priest in Stevenage Parishes, Fr Joseph Okoro is appointed to Holy Rood, Watford as Assistant Priest, Fr Carlos Quito is appointed Assistant Priest to Bishop’s Stortford Parish, and Fr John Warnaby becomes Assistant Priest at St Monica’s, Palmers Green.