Fr David Ranson installed as Parish Priest at Wahroonga

On 12 November, Fr David Ranson, VG, was officially installed as Parish Priest at Wahroonga Parish by Bishop Peter Comensoli. Fr David shares his thoughts on what it means to be parish priest. 

19 November 2015 General Interest

A Word from Fr David Ranson
On my Installation as Parish Priest

This evening is one of those remarkable evenings that in a certain sense is suspended in time. By this, I mean that an even such as the one we are celebrating both encapsulates memory and vision – the memory of our journey together as a community of faith already over a number of years, and the anticipation now of a journey together into the future.

An event such as this evening is essentially about us, as community of faith. Though we have used the occasion for Bishop Peter formally, and ritually, to install me as Pastor of our Parish, given his appointment of me to the position last May, the occasion is certainly not about me. It is about us. The celebration of the appointment of a Pastor is about what such a moment means for a community, and the way in which the appointment underscores the community’s own identity, stability and future.

In my own understanding of priesthood I have been shaped by the high intellectual perspective of St. Pope John Paul II, and in my practice of ministry by the profound and prophetic witness of Pope Francis.

As Pope John Paul II wrote about priesthood, we cannot think about priestly ministry without the community of faith to which it is ordered.

". . . the ministerial priesthood conferred by the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the common or 'royal' priesthood of the faithful which differ essentially, and not only in degree, are ordered one to another"

As he went onto say
". . . with baptism in fact Christ's presence and priestly activity is initiated in every member of his Body . . . enabling the believer to have a vital share in the worship given by Christ to the Father in the Church . . . By virtue of this sharing in his priesthood, Christ gives all his members, (Lumen Gentium n. 34) the capacity of offering in their lives that worship which he himself called 'worshipping the Father in Spirit and truth'.”

The presence and the ministry of the Pastor is an essential one in the life of a Catholic community of faith because in such presence and ministry the priestly life of the community itself finds its visibility, its tangibility in order that it may come into the fullness of its realisation. The community sees its priesthood in its Pastor and the Pastor sees his priesthood in the community.

And this can be realised only to the extent that the Pastor lives with that heart of Mercy into which Pope Francis calls us, that revolution of tenderness that is expressed not only in words but also in attitude and gesture. My single prayer tonight is that I might grow into that heart more and more deeply with you, so that together we may reflect the presence, the possibility and the promise of the Risen Christ who takes his body today in us.

We have so much to be grateful for as growing Catholic community. We look back even over this last year alone thankful for the many ways in which the Spirit has worked within us calling us forward. It fills us with a sense of wonderful expectation and anticipation about the future.

Tonight we thank particularly Bishop Peter, our Shepherd, for being with us. Bishop Peter must teach tomorrow and from the classroom he goes to the airport to travel to Rome, so we are indebted to his generosity of time to be with us, and I thank him personally for his trust and encouragement of me both in appointing me as Pastor of our community and as his Vicar General.

We thank the priests who have joined us this evening to show their fraternal support of us.

We thank too our magnificent Schola for the beauty and dignity of their music for us.

And let us thank one another for the gift that each of us is to one another – for those who could be present tonight but also for those who could not be present. For it is only through the quality of our relationships with one another in a way that welcomes, listens, encourages, enhances, builds and promotes that we become who we truly are as a neighbourhood of grace.

Catholic Diocese of
Broken Bay

Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120

PO Box 340
Pennant Hills NSW 1715

Phone 02 9847 0000
Fax 02 9847 0001

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