Saturday February 25, 2023
An air of celebration filled Salford Cathedral today as our diocese welcomed a new priest.
Clergy from across our diocese, as well as from elsewhere, joined Bishop John today for the ordination of Peter Hapgood-Strickland.
The joyful celebration welcomed many guests, including friends and family of Father Peter, parishioners of Blessed Dominic Barberi Parish in Bolton, where Father Peter has recently served as a deacon, as well as members of Oscott College.
Bishop John began the Mass with words of thanks to Father Peter, saying, “Thank you for making this an occasion that we want to see more of in our diocese. Thank you for your generosity and kindness in offering yourself for the priesthood in this diocese.”
During the ceremony, Father Michael Dolman, Rector of St Mary’s College, Oscott, introduced Bishop John to Father Peter.
Bishop John then delivered a homily, which explored more about the role of priests in our modern world.
He said: “There is a beautiful image that Pope Francis uses. He originally used it for bishops, but I think it applies just as well to priests as well.
“He said that bishops, or priests, must be in three places at once. He needs to be ahead of the flock in his pastoral care: as a leader, as a guide, giving wisdom, encouragement, understanding; pouring out the scriptures and his understanding to those under his care: a leader.
“He also needs to be in the midst of his flock, getting to know those under his pastoral care. And in the context of the priesthood, that usually means within the parish community. Understand where that parish is in its development. And the parishes can be so different. And not just understand the parish, but get to know individual parishioners, each on their own particular faith journey. How could you encourage each one to respond more fully to the invitation of the Gospel in their lives?
“And then a priest must be in third place: he must be at the back of the flock, making sure that no one is left behind, or feels rejected, no one is disadvantaged in any way. That they can remain part of the herd, and if they have difficulties, he is there for them.
“That strikes me as a remarkably good picture of the priesthood today.
“And overwriting all of that is one word: service.”
Click here to listen to an audio recording of Bishop John’s homily.
After the homily, Father Pedro made a promise of obedience before prostrating himself before the altar, as a sign of his total dependence on Almighty God.
The ceremony continued as we joined in our prayers with the hosts of heaven through the Litanies of the Saints, and Bishop John recited the Prayer of Consecration. Father Peter was then dressed and presented with a paten and chalice, before Bishop John led all the priests in a beautiful sign of welcome.
Father Peter will now return to his parish of Blessed Dominic Barberi, where he will continue his service as a member of the newly ordained priesthood.
We extend our warmest welcome to Father Peter and invite him to join us as we keep him in our prayers as he begins his ministry.
For more information about the priesthood in our diocese or to contact our vocations team, click here.
Tagged | Bishop John | Catholic Church | Diocese | Events | Mass | ordinations | Parishes | Pope Francis | priesthood | sacraments | vocations