Newly ordained priest Father Reginald Mary Chua OP aims to live out his priesthood by the mandate of one of the Dominican Order’s mottos: “to praise, to bless, and to preach”.
The Dominican Friar was Ordained to the Priesthood by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB on Friday 18 December 2020 at St Mary’s Cathedral, witnessed by loved ones near and far.
Joining Archbishop Costelloe as concelebrants were Fr Anthony Walsh OP, Prior Provincial of Australia and New Zealand; Fr Thomas Cassidy OP, Woodlands House of Our Lady of the Rosary Superior; Fr Peter Hoang OP, Woodlands Parish Priest; Fr Mariusz Grzech, Mt Lawley Assistant Parish Priest; priests of the Order of Preachers and other religious institutes, as well as various priests of the Archdiocese of Perth and other Catholic dioceses.
Born in Perth as David Chua, the former Willetton parishioner joined the Dominicans in Adelaide in 2013 as a novice. He has since graduated with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, and then with a master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Sydney.
In his homily for the solemn liturgy of priestly ordination, Archbishop Costelloe commended Fr Chua for stepping forward with great faith and great courage to offer himself for priestly ministry within the Lord’s Church.
“In my years as a bishop, I have often found myself celebrating the Ordination Liturgy during the season of Advent, and it has always seemed to me to be important to suggest to the person being ordained that he should consider himself as what we might call an ‘Advent priest’,” Archbishop Costelloe noted.
“For surely the vocation of a priest can be understood as a call to prepare the way for the Lord so that when he comes, and in the way he chooses to come into the lives of his people, they are ready to receive him.”
He then highlighted three great Advent heroes of the Catholic faith – Saint John the Baptist, Saint Joseph, and Mother Mary – who have much to teach us, particularly in the context of what the Lord did that special evening for Fr Chua.
It is their extraordinary humility, he said, which marks the life of each of them that becomes significant.
“It is only in opening ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit, who can shape us into people who are ‘meek and humble of heart’, as Jesus was, that we can become the disciples that God has called us and is calling us to be. It is only in becoming meek and humble of heart that you, Brother Reginald, can be the priest the Lord is calling you to be.
“May the prayers of St Dominic and all the saints of the Dominican family accompany you and support you in all that lies ahead,” Archbishop Costelloe encouraged.
Fr Chua showed his immense gratitude towards all those who made his ordination possible, especially having been forced to prepare during a time of pandemic. In his Vote of Thanks, he made special mention to his formators in the Dominican Order over the past seven years and to his family
“Mum and dad, you have been instruments of God’s blessing to me from the day I was born. So much of my understanding of Jesus Christ and the costly grace and virtue of Christian discipleship have come from observing your lives, your humility, your generosity, your self-sacrifice,” he expressed.
“Like [my grandfather] and in the figure of Abraham, you left behind the comfort and security of your homeland and became foreigners in a foreign land, trusting in providence to find a better life for your children. Your courage has always inspired me to overcome my own fears in answering the call of God in my life, to put out into the deep.
“The chasuble you handed to me earlier is an inadequate symbol of the magnitude of the blessings you have given to me. I hope my priestly ministry will in turn be a blessing to you all. I ask you all to pray for my ministry as a Dominican priest, to praise, to bless, and to preach that Jesus Christ is Lord.”