No. 42January 2007

Regnavit a ligno Deus

January 6, 2007

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

Allow me to bring you this month, a pictorial presentation of the ordinations performed by Bishop Williamson during his brief visit to Holy Cross Seminary last month. It was a more than fitting finale to the Seminary year. On Saturday morning December 16, immediately after the last examination, the seven theologians, who are in the final three years of their formation, headed off for a retreat in Marlo, preached by Father Thierry Gaudray, one of the professors from St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary from Winona, who came especially for the occasion. He chose as the theme for his retreat the writings and life of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, the Carmelite whose centennial was celebrated last year. Meanwhile Bishop Williamson himself preached a recollection to the Philosophers in preparation for the reception of Minor Orders.

The first ordination ceremony took place on Ember Saturday, December 23. During this lengthy ceremony the Clerical Tonsure, the four Minor Orders and the Subdiaconate were all conferred, spaced out as they are on this day between the various readings and graduals of the long Ember day Mass. The ceremony took place in the Seminary chapel, and saw the promotion to two young men (from Belgium and South Africa respectively) to the Tonsure as clerics, of three clerics to the Minor Orders of Porter and Lector (all three Australian) and three also to the Minor Orders of Exorcist and Acolyte (one each from Australia, the U.S. and India). Finally took place the ordination of one acolyte to the Major Order of the Subdiaconate, Reverend Mr. Claret from France, stepping forward to make the implicit vow of perpetual chastity during the moving ceremony of final, irreversible dedication of himself to the service of God.

The second ordination ceremony took place on the feast of St. John the Evangelist, on the field in front of the Seminary, in the presence of at least 450 faithful from all over Australia, as well as from New Zealand, in a tent large enough to provide shelter for all those present. During that ceremony our one subdeacon, Rev. Mr. Claret, received the diaconate, followed by the ordination to the holy priesthood of three deacons, now Father Michael Johnson from California, Father Christopher Curtis from Melbourne and Father Michael Lavin from New Zealand. The following day, feast of the Holy Innocents, they each celebrated their First Masses in the tent, one after the other, whilst many of the faithful present assisted at two or even all three of them. It was touching to see Father Curtis on the altar at the Solemn High Mass, assisted by his two class mates, Fathers Johnson and Lavin as deacon and subdeacon, at the Mass sung by the choir from his home parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Hampton, Victoria.

The faithful present received the newly ordained priests’ individual blessings, one after the other, eventually passing over to enjoy the celebration lunch in the shade of the Seminary verandahs. All thanked God for the cool weather and for the showers a couple of days before and a couple of days after the ordinations, which were a symbol of the grace of the priesthood falling upon the parched earth of a world without God. The two day working bee that followed was also a great help to the Seminary, drawing around 40 men to help out in the exterior painting of the remodeled cottage, splitting, cutting and stacking firewood for the winter and a variety of cleanup jobs.

We are confident that these three young men whom God has called will be in truth his friends, instruments and ministers of Our Divine Savior Himself, vehicles of forgiveness, grace and holiness. We wish them the best in their respective missions, which are, at the present time, Father Curtis here in Australia, Father Johnson in Browerville, Minnesota and Father Lavin at St. Bernard Novitiate in Iloilo, the Philippines.

I hope that the photos that you find in this newsletter, which follow the ceremonies in the order they took place, will be some small representation of the supernatural joy and of the union of Faith that characterize a priestly ordination, by which the Church continues its militant step towards eternity, manifesting clearly to the eyes of Faith the divinity of the one Mediator, the Way, the Truth and the Life, for “this is the victory that overcomes the world, our Faith” (I Jn 5:4).

Father Peter R. Scott

Ordinations Dec 23Ordinations Dec 23

Bishop Williamson and the ministers after the ceremony of ordination
on Ember Saturday, December 23. Reverend Mr. Claret, in the centre, had just received the subdiaconate,
and the other seminarians the tonsure and minor orders.

The three ordinands

The three ordinands to the priesthood on December 27,
still with their diaconal stoles, in prayer, with the assembly of the faithful behind.

prostration newpriests & deacon

The prostration with which the Ordination ceremony to Major Orders begins.
Here the future deacon and three future priests profess their unworthiness for Holy Orders
and beg the grace and blessing of Almighty God whilst the choir sings the Litany of the Saints.

Answering call

After hearing their call by the archdeacon,
the future priests process forward for the ordination ceremony.

Rev Mr Claret

Reverend Mr. Jean-Baptiste Claret listens to the bishop’s admonition,
his dalmatic and stole over his left arm and the candle in his right.

New priests with candles

The three future priests, candles in hand,
listen to the admonition of the bishop on the duties and responsibilites of priests:
“The office of the priest is to offer sacrifice, to bless, to govern, to preach and to baptize.
Truly, it must be with great fear that you ascend to so high a station…”

Bishop imposes hands on new priest

The matter of the sacrament.
Here the bishop imposes both of his hands on the head of Father Johnson,
as Fathers Curtis and Lavin await their turn. The sacred ministers look on: Father Gaudray as deacon,
Father Wailliez as subdeacon and the Rector as Archdeacon.

Consecration hands Fr. Lavin

Father Lavin likewise touches with his consecrated hands the chalice and paten,
containing the matter of the sacrifice.


A most ancient custom is for the new ordained priests
to concelebrate the Mass of ordination together with the ordaining bishop.
However, this has nothing of the demeaning disrespect of the modernist concelebrations.
Here the three newly ordained priests can be seen kneeling on the ground, their own missals in front of them,
saying all the prayers of the Mass, from the Offertory to the end.
Father Curtis, to the right, is assisted by Father Ortiz, Father Johnson in the middle
is assisted by Father Jackson, and Father Lavin to the right is assisted by Father Delsorte.

Bishop Williamson with three new priests

Bishop Williamson surrounded by the three newly ordained priests
in the Sacred Heart courtyard after the ceremony of ordination.

First blessing Fr. Johnson

Father Johnson gives his first blessing to a sister of the Society,
accompanied by seminarian, Nathan Farrow, from Phoenix.

Father Curtis gives his first blessings

Father Curtis gives his first blessings in the Seminary verandah.

Father Lavin gives his first blessing to two religious whilst
his father holds for him the card with the special blessing prayer.

Father Lavin speaks to two Australians

Father Lavin speaks to two Australians
during the lunch celebration that followed the ceremony of ordination.

New priests cutting cake

The three newly ordained priests together cut their ordination cake after the lunch.

Fr. Johnson First Mass

Ecce Agnus Dei. Father Johnson elevates the host during his First Mass
in the tent on December 28, feast of the Holy Innocents.

Fr Lavin first Mass

Father Lavin at his first Mass, a Sung Mass in the tent.

Fr Curtis first Mass

Father Curtis, celebrated a Solemn High Mass in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The deacon for the Mass was Father Johnson, to his right, and the subdeacon, Father Lavin to his left.
Some of the choir members from Victoria can be seen in the background.



Menís 5 day: †           Monday January 15 Ė Saturday January 20
                                Monday June 18 – Saturday June 23
Womenís 5 day:††††††† Monday February 5 – Saturday February 10
                                Monday September 17 – Saturday Sept. 22
                                Monday September 24 – Saturday Sept. 29

Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia