Labourers for the harvest

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On October 17, I ordained Br Crisanto Mendoza as a deacon for the Archdiocese of Hobart. Crisanto is a member of Mary’s Little Children Community, which was founded in the Philippines, and members of which are based in Bridgewater Parish. Br Crisanto will be ordained a priest of the Archdiocese.

During the previous month Rev Paschal Okpon was ordained as a priest. He will complete his studies in Melbourne and, after taking a few weeks to return home to spend time with his family in Nigeria, will commence his priestly service in Mersey -Leven Parish in the new year.

In July, Fidelis Udousoro was ordained a deacon and will continue his studies at the seminary in preparation for ordination next year.

Earlier this year in July, Sr Gemma Marie took her first profession of vows as a religious in the Sisters of the Immaculata, based in Franklin. This month Sr Therese-Marie of the Eucharist took her first profession of vows in the Carmelite community, Launceston.

In a simple ceremony during Vespers later this month, four young men, Tomas Cannavo, Alec Hobbs, David McMahon and Graham Leach, will be clothed with the habit of the new Benedictine community, currently based in Lindisfarne. The community has bought land in the Coal River valley and will be building a monastery there.

Thus, in the course of this year the Archdiocese can rejoice in seven young men and two young women offering their lives to serve Christ in Tasmania. This is a great blessing for us all.

In addition to the arrival of the Benedictine community, next month we will see the arrival of six consecrated women from the Palavra Viva Community in Brazil who will take up residence in Launceston.

In a well-known passage in the Gospels the Lord states, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.

Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Lk 10:2). Many in the Archdiocese have indeed been praying for vocations to the priesthood and religious life over many years. Now these prayers are being answered. God has been faithful and is providing for the needs of His people.

When the Lord urged his disciples to pray for vocations it was that labourers were needed for the harvest. We can rejoice that the evangelising mission of the Church here in Tasmania is blessed with an increase in labourers.

The labourers who are offering their lives to Christ will in fact express their service to the Church in two distinct ways – some are to be contemplative (like the Benedictine monks and Carmelite nuns), others are to be active, priests serving in parishes or an active religious sister.

Both expressions of vocation are important each in their own way. The work of the Church is dependent on a strong spiritual foundation. The mission of the Church is primarily a spiritual one. I am grateful for the presence of two contemplative communities whose life centres on prayer.
Through their prayers they help to bring forth the abundant grace of God on those in active service.

The apostolic work of the Church has been traditionally spearheaded by clergy and consecrated men and women. The work of the priest in the parish is complemented by various forms of ministry exercised by men and women who embrace a consecrated life.

As this year comes towards its end we can take a moment to give thanks to God for the provision of labourers for the harvest. We can look to the future with more confidence as the Church carries out its evangelising mission.