Perth's multicultural ordination ceremony

In what represented a record number of ordinations at any ceremony in the Archdiocese, nine priests were ordained by Archbishop Barry Hickey in St Mary's Cathedral, Perth, on Friday.

CLICK HEREThe ordinations took to 65 the number of priests ordained in Perth in the 10 years since 1966.

Eight of the new priests are being ordained for the Archdiocese of Perth while the ninth is a West Australian who is being ordained for the Salesians.

Some of the Perth priests were born overseas and some in WA, but all have trained at St Charles Seminary in Guildford and will work in the Archdiocese.

The new priests are Fathers Nelson Po, Nicholas Nweke, Clayton Mitchell, Joseph Lee, Gavin Gomez, Andrew Bowron, Kenneth Asaba and Andrew Albis, and William Matthews SDB.

Today, The Australian published a report that includes comments from Fr Po, a Filipino, about his reaction to being appointed assistant priest at Kalgoorlie.

"I've never been to the place and I'm looking forward to it -- I've heard a lot of stories about the place," he said.

Fr Po, 37, spent eight years in a seminary before accepting an invitation from Archbishop Barry Hickey to come to Perth.

The former industrial engineer spent another two years studying in Western Australia.

Also ordained was Clayton Mitchell, 24, who was born in Perth to Burmese parents and entered the seminary when he was 18.

"When you join the seminary you're not going to be ordained then and there, you've got six years to think about it a bit more," Fr Mitchell said.

"I grew into it. I really felt God was calling me more and more each year."

Asked about sexual abuse in the church, Fr Mitchell said the celibacy of priests was not responsible.

"There's obviously some psychological reasons," he said. "This is a minority of priests, it's not the majority.

Media Statement, Archbishop Barry Hickey (Archdiocese of Perth 8/12/05)
O come all ye faithful: Catholicism's new faces (The Australian 12/12/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Perth

John L Allen: On priestly life and ministry (National Catholic Reporter 9/12/05)
Cardinal's lecture series on priesthood (Catholic Weekly 11/12/05)

12 Dec 2005