Bishop Bill pointed out the scriptures emphasise that John was chosen by God. “Anthony is being ordained not into the clergy, but for the people of this community who have come to know him.”
To Anthony he said, “You’ve had a longish journey – it’s a life story – also a story of a calling and a leading and assent. It’s important to maintain that sense that we have been chosen by God.
“You are God’s man – but not in the sense that ‘It’s me and God’. You must strive to be a person of communion – and you will always be a deacon, even though, please God, you will be ordained priest shortly.”
A large congregation, including his mother, Isabelita, was there to support Anthony, to pray with him and to celebrate with him after the liturgy.
The final words of the recessional hymn, Christ, Be Our Light by Bernadette Farrell, captured the spirit of the occasion:
Many the gifts, many the people, Many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another, Making your kingdom come.
Afterwards Deacon Anthony said, “I am deeply touched by the support and the affection shown to me by the people in Newcastle. I have felt very much at home. My prayer is that they would keep me always conformed in the ways of Christ and faithful to my lifetime commitment of service to God and God’s people.”
Anthony has settled in the MerewetherHamilton area and is a Religious Assistant at St Benedict’s Parish. He is the Secretary of the Parish Pastoral Council and a scripture teacher at Hamilton South Public School.