Last night our Christchurch seminarians gathered for dinner with a group of seminarians from the United States who are visiting New Zealand accompanying one of their newly ordained brothers. The night was hosted by a Christchurch family at their home, and the gathering was filled the good conversation and laughter that is a mark of a gathering friends.
One year ago today, July 1 2017, our Christchurch diocese rejoiced at the ordination to the priesthood of three young men, Fr Alister Castillo. Fr. Huynh Van Tran and Fr. Graeme Blackburn. Tragically, six months after the ordination celebration our diocese was in mourning at the tragic death of Graeme. Our grieving continues and our prayers today are with Graeme’s mother Erin, his family and many friends and parishioners who experience both sorrow in the broader context of the joy of hope in Jesus Christ that Graeme proclaimed in his brief priestly ministry.
So today especially let us offer a prayer of thanksgiving for these ordinations, and for the gift of our local seminarians. And I know that you will join with me in praying that Graeme now shares the fullness of the life in Christ which he proclaimed in his ministry.