Twenty years of grace for Fr Warren Edwards

Fr Warren says serving the Church as a priest for the past 20 years has been a blessing and a grace. Photo: Supplied

Fr Warren Edwards recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, describing his time as ‘20 years of grace’.

Ordained for the Diocese of Parramatta on 2 August 2002, Fr Warren has spent the last two years serving as Parish Priest of the Huon Valley as part of a five-year loan to the Hobart Archdiocese.

Formerly a high school teacher for six years, he had a personal conversion in the faith in those last three years of teaching.

“I’d always been a casual Catholic – I grew up going to church every week, but we grew up in very casual times.

“It was the 70’s and 80’s – nothing was taken too seriously in those times,” Fr Warren said.

“But I was going along to a talk about the Eucharist and being in a proper state of grace to receive Holy Communion which made me realise that I was receiving the Eucharist when I hadn’t been to confession or going to church properly.”

Fr Warren said the talk made him realise there were truths of our faith he had not been considering. The experience made him begin to ask more questions.

“I started going along to talks, young adult meetings and getting more involved; it was at one of these meetings where I came to the sudden realisation of my vocational call.

“Until that point, I hadn’t really considered priesthood but always thought I’d be married with children.

“From then I started spiritual direction and the calling to the priesthood was affirmed,” he said.

Looking back over 20 years of priesthood, Fr Warren said there were many highlights, including working as Vocations Director for the Parramatta Diocese and building up the Rouse Hill Parish and community from scratch.

Something which has remained especially dear to his heart was celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass inside the Tomb of Jesus, while leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

“It was just one of those profound moments – the whole idea of being in the tomb of Jesus, where his dead body was, saying Mass, and consecrating the gifts of bread and the wine into the living Body of Jesus Christ.

“Then at the ‘Lamb of God’, taking the Body and Blood of Christ in my hands and walking out of the tomb with the resurrected Christ proclaiming, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’

“The whole of the priesthood fit together in that moment,” he said.

“There are ups and downs in one’s own personal life, but the priesthood has always been a grace.

“There’s a whole ontological change that happens in being ordained a priest; making us ‘in persona Christi’ to serve as a vehicle of salvation.

“I cannot imagine myself not being a priest,” he concluded.