Tassie born priest ordained

Fr Ben Brooks was ordained to the priesthood at St Mary’s Cathedral on July 19, 2019. At the time, Fr Brooks was the first locally born Tasmanian ordained in the Archdiocese in more than 15 years.

Joined by family, friends, the faithful and fellow seminarians from Beda College in Rome, Fr Brooks described his ordination as ‘profound’.

“It was a wonderful evening. I have been to many ordinations and witnessed it. I’ve read through the rite as part of my preparation and got used to it, but when it actually begins and you’re sitting there in the sanctuary…[you] think ‘wow, this is really happening’… It was profound,” he said.

“The physical pouring of oil, where my hands were consecrated: that was quite a moving moment. There is something about the oil sinking into your hands that is organic…it is tangible. I think the consecration of the hands for me was a very physical kind of being ‘lifted up’ to something else.”

Fr Brooks recalled the blessing of his family members as another special moment of his ordination.

“Oh, that’s just lovely to be able to share that, because they were very supportive of my decisions in life, to go in this step…it’s a way of being able to share it back with them, I suppose, that they are all part of it.”

Fr Brooks returned to Tasmania in 2019 after completing four years of study at Beda College in Rome.  He says that although it took him a while to recognise a calling to the priesthood, his life experiences had paved the way.

“Looking back on my life, there were a lot of stages that I can see that I’ve gone through, that really have pointed to where I am at the moment,” said Fr Brooks.

“Working here at the diocese, 25 years as a member of the Society of Christian Doctrine, and a catechist, so doing that kind of volunteer work…sharing the journey with different people in different places…it all seems to converge.”

During his homily, Archbishop Julian encouraged Fr Brooks to ‘embrace this dignity and privilege’ [of being a priest], and to adopt the mode of a servant ‘willing to give of himself for the good of the people.’

“Ben, in the end we have nothing to offer the parish communities we serve and the broader society in Tasmania than Christ, but there is nothing better that we can offer,” His Grace said.

“Be reassured that the Father has a special love for you. In addition, Christ loves us and calls you not servant but friend. You now share in his one priesthood.”

Fr Brooks celebrated his Thanksgiving Mass at John Paul II Church in Rokeby on Saturday morning following his ordination.

“It was a bit overwhelming,” Fr Brooks said.

“The number of people who turned up – people who I’ve known since I was a teenager. It was nice to be able to share that moment with those who have given me so much in life.”

Fr Brooks initially joined Launceston Parish as assistant priest under the guidance of parish priest Fr Mark Freeman. Fr Brooks is now administrator of Meander Valley Parish.

“I think it’s really important, for me anyway, to understand the people, because it’s all about supporting a person and helping a person connect with the mission they are called to as baptised Catholics. We need to work together as partners in building God’s kingdom.”