On Friday 6th July, the Diocese of Aberdeen will celebrate a triple ordination, a great time of joy and excitement for the whole diocese.
Ahead of the day Bishop Hugh says:
“Three men are bringing great joy to the Diocese of Aberdeen on Friday 6th July. Douglas Duncan will be ordained to the Permanent Diaconate, and Deacons Emmet O’Dowd and Rafal Szweda will be ordained to the Priesthood. Douglas is based in Aberdeen, Emmet has a connection with Inverness and Raf with Elgin; so the three cities of the Diocese will be represented. It is the first time in many years that it has been possible to celebrate a triple ordination. It points to a promising future. The Ordination will be celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral, Aberdeen at 6pm on Friday 6 July. I look forward to being joined by Bishop Emeritus Peter Moran and Bishop Stephen Robson of Dunkeld, and by many of the faithful and clergy of the diocese as well as friends and family of the ordinands. May the Lord pour out his Spirit on these chosen men and on all of us.”
The candidates have said, in advance of the ordination
During the rite of ordination, the Bishop prays: “May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfilment.” These words capture my journey so far, as it didn’t begin with me, nor did I begin it intentionally. God’s call has taken me from Ireland to Aberdeen, and Inverness, and Rome, and now finally back to Aberdeen to be ordained a priest. This encounter with Christ and the ‘good work’ it has begun has brought me a sense of interior freedom, peace, and joy. Ordination is not the end of the journey, just the beginning of the next chapter, which God will ‘bring to fulfilment’ as only He knows how.
As we near the day of ordination, I look back at the last five year of studies with satisfaction having achieved with the help of God more than originally expected. The journey has taken several interesting turnings due to work and family commitments, and what at one stage seemed a lifetime away has come round very quickly. There have been highs and lows and during the Malaviya Seven saga, here in the Aberdeen port it meant burning the midnight candle although it helped me focus on my vocation which is that to serve particularly those in need.
I give thanks to God for the gift of vocation to priesthood. It took me some time to discover and understand that gift – I approach the ordination at the age of 38. Since childhood I had the feeling that God was calling me to serve Him in a special way but it was in Elgin, that I understood that God is not only calling me to be a priest but specifically to be a priest in Scotland.
Some time ago someone asked me: why do you want to be a priest? The answer was actually very simple: because since I have discovered that this is what God wants me to do, I just cannot do anything else and still be truly happy. I simply understood that my happiness lies in doing the will of God and serving His people. As a priest I will be send to serve the people of God and my only desire is to bring them closure to God and to bring God’s mercy to everyone I ever meet.