Third Time Around, Fr DJ is at Last Ordained!

 DJ 2Bishops Ordination 350By Jackson Saunders

The Sandhurst Diocese has a new priest after the ordination to the priesthood of Fr DJ Suguitan at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo last weekend, on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Fr DJ’s priestly ordination had been postponed twice after COVID-19 restrictions meant that the originally proposed ordination dates of July 11 and September 5 had to be changed.

Bishop of Sandhurst, Shane Mackinlay, who ordained Fr DJ, was delighted to be able to welcome hundreds to the Ordination Mass. “We’re finally here,” Bishop Shane said at the beginning of the ceremony.

“This must be at least the third date that we’ve set for DJ’s ordination and it’s wonderful to be finally able to welcome all of you here to be with him, to celebrate and pray with him, (and) to celebrate his entry into the ministry of the priesthood in this Diocese of Sandhurst.”

“I think it’s actually the first gathering we’ve been able to have as a Diocese since I was ordained, as a Bishop,over a year ago. It has not been the year that any of us could ever have imagined.”

Bishop Shane was joined by Bishop Emeritus of Sandhurst, Leslie Tomlinson, as well as priests from across the Sandhurst Diocese and beyond.

Parishioners from across the Sandhurst Diocese and elsewhere were also in attendance, as well as staff and seminarians from Corpus Christi College in Melbourne.

Fr DJ’s family was represented by his aunt and uncle from the parish of Wodonga, Adrian and Lilia Dunn. Members of  DJ’s immediate family were unfortunatelyl, unable to travel to Australia from the Philippines due to COVID-19 restrictions. His parents Altair and Elizabeth, his sister Jan and his brother Aaron, watched the Ordination Mass on live-stream from home.

Other relations from the Philippines and the USA also watched the ordination Mass online.
Bishop Shane, in his words of welcome, also greeted Sandhurst Deacon, Adi Indra, who watched the ceremony from Rome.

“The other enormous gap today is our other Deacon, Adi Indra, who will be joining us in Rome. Adi, of course, should have been ordained with DJ. The first date we had booked was in July,” Bishop Shane said.
“Adi was booked and bumped-off no less than three flights back in that middle of the year period."
“At this stage we’re looking forward to, and hoping that it will be possible, to welcome Adi home again in the middle of next year to celebrate his ordination.”

The Ordination Mass began with the processional hymn, O God of all Creation, which was led by organist, Dr Paul Taylor, cantor Sarah Gould and the Cathedral choir.

The First Reading from the Prophet Jeremiah was read by Sr Geraldine Larkins RSJ and the Second Reading from St Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians was read by Catherine Jenkins. The Gospel of John was proclaimed by Deacon Jaycee Napoles, who was one of two Deacons assisting at the liturgy, along with Deacon Francois Baguma.

The Rite of Ordination followed with Fr Jake Mudge, Director of Pastoral Work at Corpus Christi College, presenting DJ to Bishop Shane as a worthy candidate for the priesthood. Bishop Shane’s homily followed and then the promise of the elect and the promise of obedience took place. The elect then prostrated himself on the Cathedral floor between the people and the sanctuary as the Litany of Saints was sung, before the laying on of hands and the prayer of ordination. The elect then rose and stood at the Cathedra before kneeling before the Bishop. The Bishop then laid hands on the elect and all of the priests followed, as Veni Creator Spiritus was sung.

Once this had concluded, Fr Joe Taylor, Parish Priest of Shepparton, and Fr Junray Rayna, Parish Administrator of St Kilian’s, helped to vest the newly ordained priest with the stole and chasuble, as the hymn, Come Down, O love divine, was sung.

The anointing of the hands and handing over the bread and wine then took place, before the fraternal kiss of peace.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist followed.

After Communion Fr Novelito Lim, Dean of the Western Deanery, presented Fr DJ with a Paderborn cross, which priests of the Sandhurst Diocese wear.

Fr DJ then offered a moving message of gratitude before moving to an image of Our Lady for a short moment of veneration and prayer.

“In every Eucharist that we celebrate we stand before our loving God and say it is our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give you thanks,” Fr DJ said.
“So, let me do me my Christian duty and be saved, and let me say: Thank you! Thank you! And thank you!”

Fr DJ paid tribute to all who had supported him.
“Today’s celebration would not have been possible had it not been for the countless number of people who have journeyed and continue to journey with me since the day I discovered my vocation.”

He also acknowledged the difficulties of 2020 and having to cope with his Ordination being postponed twice.

“All of my plans for the year were founded on the assumption that I would be ordained mid-year,” he said.

“But, just as we get too comfortable with our own life plans and programs, God seems to give us, in some way or another, a reality check and what a reality check the last ten months have been.

“I realise now, more than ever, that life plans only work if and when, and only if, they are in sync with what God has willed for you and for us.
“I’ve got to be very honest; it was a difficult ten months. There was a great temptation to despair and to lose hope. But then reflecting on today’s feast, I came across the words of Our Lady to a man named Juan Diego.”

Fr DJ reflected on these words with emotion in his moving message of gratitude.
The words were spoken by Our Lady in 1531 in Mexico to Juan Diego. She said: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more? Let nothing else worry you. Let nothing else disturb you.”
Fr DJ finished his address with these words and invited all to trust in the powerful words of Mary, who leads us to her Son, Jesus, before moving to an image of Our Lady as the Marian hymn, Alma Redemtoris Mater was sung.

The Solemn Blessing and the final Recessional hymn, Go to the World, followed.
A guard of honour was formed outside the Cathedral immediately after the Mass before Fr DJ returned inside the Cathedral to offer First Blessings.

His First Mass took place the next day on the Third Sunday of Advent at 4 p.m. at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He was joined by Bishop Shane, concelebrating priests, seminarians, his aunt and uncle, as well as parishioners. Fr Brian Boyle gave the homily and the Mass was once again live-streamed for those unable to attend.

The Masters of Ceremonies at both the Ordination and First Mass were Fr Nathan Verallo and seminarian, Adonis Peña.

On the Monday after his priestly ordination, Fr DJ said that the occasion affirmed his vocation.

“The ordination for me is an affirmation of my vocation. It is God’s faithfulness celebrated in rituals, despite my unworthiness.

“Through this ordination, I am reminded of how God continues to give me the grace to minister to his people.”

Fr DJ will now celebrate Masses of Thanksgiving for his priestly ordination, before assisting in Kerang, Cohuna and Pyramid Hill for the Christmas Masses.
In the New Year he will then begin his appointment as an Assistant Priest in the Cathedral, Quarry Hill and Golden Square/Kangaroo Flat Parishes.

Pictures: Liesbeth Van Emmerik

Jackson BlessingFromFrDJ 350


 Jackson receives a blessing from Rev. Fr Denib (DJ) Suguitan after Fr DJ's Ordination Mass.