The Perth Archdiocese had reason to rejoice last week as Redemptoris Mater Seminary’s Grzegorz Rapcewicz – with his family and friends watching online from afar – was Ordained to the Diaconate at St Mary’s Cathedral on 12 August.
Deacon Rapcewicz will continue to serve his ministry at Osborne Park Parish for a period before becoming a diocesan priest.
Perth Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton celebrated the Mass and was joined by concelebrants the Very Rev Fr Peter Whitely VG, Seminary Rector Fr Michael Moore SM, Neocatechumenal Way Responsible Fr Tony Trafford and some 30 priests of the Archdiocese.
It took Dcn Rapcewicz a few days to process the occasion of receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders while celebrating his 32nd birthday two days later.
“During the celebration, I was a little bit nervous, but I was happy,” he told The Record during the aftermath.
“The first step of diaconate ordination wasn’t only for me, but for the whole church in this Archdiocese.”
Dcn Rapcewicz’s mind remains fixated on his fundamental vocation as a Christian.
“Everything is for the Church; this is what it is about: the service of God and of people.”
His loved ones tuned in to view the live-streamed service, broadcast courtesy of the Archdiocesan Communications Office.
“They were happy to see the ordination – even though they couldn’t be here, they prayed for me and said they were with me in spirit,” he added.
“It was assuring to see people come to support me from my Neocatechumenal Way communities and the parish of Osborne Park.”
In his homily, Bishop Sproxton said the ordination of a new transitional deacon was “truly a reason for rejoicing”.
“The Archdiocese receives the gift of yet another person who has heard the call of God and generously responded and was then chosen to begin a journey to test this call and be formed for service in the Church,” the prelate began.
“For Grzegorz, the journey continues through the passage of this ordination to his mission. His mission is to serve the People of God in this Church of Perth. Maybe he will later be sent to other churches as a gift from Perth to serve with a love for those people. How will he serve?”
Bishop Sproxton said he would serve by being a sign to others that the power of the Spirit can help us to conform to Christ, adding that his personal witness to the presence of the Spirit in his life was needed for the people of our day to hear.
“He will serve by announcing the Good News [which] is needed by us all, such as we heard in the Gospel just now. The sin of the rejection and removal of God from our lives is the greatest offence, yet it is freely pardoned by God, so that we are given the chance to be converted and transformed by the Spirit of the living Christ through life.
“This is Good News. We are never abandoned by God,” he emphasised.
“One forgives as one is forgiven: one pities a brother or sister because one has been pitied oneself. There is a great disproportion between the pardon and freedom offered by God and what we are called to pardon among ourselves. When we realise this, we have the reason to work with the Spirit to be forgiving ourselves.
“May the Spirit who has led Grzegorz to this ministry of service continue to grow in faith and be a missionary disciple of Christ. And may he be able to become for us all a model of Christian living that we will want to imitate,” Bishop Sproxton encouraged.