On Our Lady’s Birthday, the 8th of September, His Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne will ordain eight men, four of whom will be ordained for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross:
- James Grant,
- Neil Fryer,
- Ramsay Williams, and
- Christopher Seton.
Their ordination (just over a month away) will extend the Australian Ordinariate from Western Australia to Victoria, and quintuple its number of priests. No doubt their ordination, consequent upon formal reception into full communion, will be paralleled by the reception also of many of their parishioners, resulting in much good for souls.
Now, who are these good men? For a start, they are all from the mainstream Anglican Church in Australia…
There is a James Grant who is a retired Anglican bishop, but I suspect he’s not the one making the jump! I find a newspaper article (available online) quite critical of compromised modern Anglicanism by one James Grant, “departing priest of Jika Jika” in Melbourne’s northern suburbs… is this the one who will soon be part of the Ordinariate’s clerical ranks? The website of his (former?) parish – last updated in February – talks of its worship being in the tradition of the Catholic revival, with vestments, candles, even incense… This same James Grant is described as “ordinariate-bound” in an article by Bp Robarts posted on the website of Fr Stephen Smuts (a TAC priest in South Africa).
As for the others, a comment on Smuts’ blog reveals them to be: Fr Neil Freyer, retired priest from All Saints, East Saint Kilda (the last true Anglo-Catholic church in Melbourne, as the commenter described it); Fr Ramsay Williams, former Parish Priest also from All Saints, East St Kilda; and Father Christoper Seton, Parish Priest of All Saints Kooyong (and a leading member of Forward in Faith Australia) – the latter has been forcefully in favour of accepting the Papal invitation for years, and, one prays, will be bringing many with him: he certainly will, if his reported comments from 2009 about his parishioners badgering him to lead them home to Rome prove fruitful.
I find also that Neil Fryer was received into the Church on the 2nd of April this year, as a handy online parish bulletin notes – as it says it was “through the ‘Personal Ordinariate’” he has the rare distinction of joining it before it had even been established!
Eureka! On the excellent Melbourne Archdiocese website, I find an account about Ramsay Williams: he was first a journalist, then for 38 years an Anglican priest, and was received into the Catholic Church last year; happily, he has been part of the Mentone parish, whose priest, Fr Walshe, is an excellent mentor and a model pastor.
God bless these men as they prepare for ordination and priestly service in Our Lady’s Australian Ordinariate: as they are to be ordained on her Nativity, well may we regard them as a birthday gift to her – and from her, for all her spiritual children. Our Lady of the Southern Cross, pray for them.