A diocesan community gathered together for a most joy-filled celebration of the priestly ordination of Richard Elson. Family and friends descended upon our cathedral in Clifton on Saturday 9 December to participate in the Church’s prayer as the Bishop with his priests gathered round him called Richard forward for ministry as a priest of the diocese. It was the end of one journey – a real ‘advent’ waiting and hoping, and the beginning of another journey of a priestly ministry to the people of Clifton. There were family from the north of Wales and priests representing the diocese of Wrexham (Richard’s home), students and staff from Oscott College where Richard had started his formation in the 1990’s and then completed those studies after taking some time to discern this last year. There were priests, deacons, religious joined by parishioners from parishes and communities that have journeyed with Richard across so many years – they came from Wells, from Gloucester (where Richard has been based in the diocese for the last eighteen months), from Cheltenham and were joined by the choir and members of monastic and school community at Downside… each and everyone united in asking for God’s blessing upon this man for a ministry of priestly service.
Our prayer for Fr Richard does not stop now that ordination has come… our prayer for him continues. The bishop reminded him at his ordination that his priesthood was God’s gift to the Church, a priesthood that would allow us to know the tender love of God and the outpouring of God’s blessing upon us. We pray for Fr Richard, that God will be good to him, walk with him, love him and give him courage so that in his priestly ministry to us, the people of Clifton, we may know the gentle touch and love of the God who comes to us and walks with us…in his priest. Ad multos annos.
Phil Gibbons spoke with several people at the Cathedral before and after Richard’s Ordination. Below you can hear him spoeak with fellow Seminairians and family members. You can also hear Bishop Declan’s Homily within the podcast.