The renovated St. Andrew’s Cathedral was the location for the ordination of Gerry Walsh by Archbishop Conti on 30 June. As the Archbishop commented in his homily, this was the first ordination to take place in the Cathedral for some years, as ordinations in the recent past had tended to be in the home parish of the new priest. However, following the success of the ordinations to the Permanent Diaconate in St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, consideration was given to having ordinations to the priesthood in the Cathedral, as the home parish would still host the new priest’s first Mass.
St. Andrew’s was filled with family, friends and parishioners from Fr. Gerry’s parish of Our Lady & St. Mark’s, Alexandria, and priests from across the Archdiocese as well as members of the St. Mungo Singers to lend musical support to the celebration.
As the congregation gathered, the choir sang motets and Dr. Noel Donnelly played harp airs. Then the solemn procession began, accompanied by the singing of the Pauline Greeting “Grace to you and peace from God the Father”, leading into the joyful “For all the saints”. The readings for the Mass were Isaiah 61:1-3; 1 Peter 5:1-4; and Matthew 20:25-28, with Psalm 22 (Fitzpatrick setting) and the Bellahouston Alleluia.
In his homily Archbishop Conti reminded those present that the Mass is the source and summit of the Church’s sacramental life, its spiritual wealth. The Gospel reading (chosen by Fr. Gerry) speaks of service which is the heart of the ordained ministry at any level, and the priest is a fellow-worker with his Bishop in the service of his people.
The sung Litany of Saints followed as the congregation and clergy present prayed for the ordinand. Then the solemn rite of the Laying on of Hands took place in silence, and the ordination was completed by the Prayer of Consecration by the Archbishop. As Fr Gerry was vested , the choir sang “God, be in my Head”.
The Mass continued with the Presentation of Gifts, while the congregation joined in singing “Praise to the Holiest”. Then came the lovely rite of the Kiss of Peace, exchanged by the newly ordained priest with the Archbishop and each of the priests present.
The Mass ended as it had begun, with a sense of joyous occasion, as everyone joined in the final well-known hymn, “Tell out, my Soul”. Afterwards Fr. Gerry gave individual blessings to members of his family and a general blessing to the congregation, before everyone was invited to enjoy the hospitality of the Cathedral in the Italian Gardens where, for once, the weather was such as to allow them to enjoy this new gathering space.