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Ordination of the Very Reverend Fr Harry Entwistle

Article and Photo by Fr R Cross

The Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe SDB, Archbishop of Perth, ordained to the Priesthood on Friday 15 June in St Mary's Cathedral Perth the Very Reverend Harry Entwistle.


Above: Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett, Bishop Peter Elliott, Fr Harry Entwistle, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe and Bishop Donald Sproxton

Also present at the ordination were Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett of the Lismore Diocese, Bishop Peter Elliot, Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, Bishop Donald Sproxton, many clergy of the Archdiocese of Perth as well as family and friends of the newly ordained Fr Entwistle. Traditional Anglican Community Archbishop, the Most Reverend John Hepworth, was also present in the congregation and later expressed his goodwill and support and said he looked forward to the day when the Church would be without division and speak with the one voice of Christ.

Immediately prior to the Ordination Mass, approximately 40 members of the Traditional Anglican Community were received into the Catholic Church by Monsignor Kevin Long. These and many of their friends were also present at the ordination Mass. Fr Entwistle was himself received into the Church at St Charles Seminary last Sunday, where he was also ordained a Deacon by Archbishop Costelloe.

The significance of the ordination Mass was added to when the Most Rev Peter Elliott rose after Communion and read the Decree of the Erection of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, under the patronage of St Augustine of Canterbury, issued by the Congregation of Doctrine and Faith on the 15 June 2012.

Bishop Elliott was particularly pleased to be present and read the Decree of Erection as he has worked assiduously as the project delegate for the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to prepare the way for the erection of the Ordinariate.

After the announcement of the Ordinariate, Archbishop Costelloe was pleased to read a Decree from Pope Benedict XVI announcing that the Very Reverend Father Harry Entwistle had been appointed the Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. This announcement was greeted with great joy by the new members of the Ordinariate. Fr Entwistle will be based in Perth but will be responsible for the Ordinariate throughout Australia.

In a media statement prior to the Ordination, Archbishop Costelloe said he welcomed the announcement of the establishment of the Ordinariate for groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining elements of their own Anglican patrimony.

Archbishop Costelloe said, “Those people from the Anglican tradition who have decided to avail themselves of the opportunity afforded to them by Pope Benedict XV1 have done so after a long period of careful and prayerful discernment.”

“The Catholic community will welcome them with great joy and generosity of spirit. We look forward to fully sharing with them the richness of our faith. At the same time we hope to gain from the witness of their own faith and the beauty of their liturgical and spiritual traditions, which they will bring with them.”

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Homily of the Most Rev Timothy Costelloe SDB

on the Occasion of the Ordination of the Very Rev Harry Entwistle


On the 11th of November, 2009, Sr Maria Boulding, a Benedictine nun of Stanbrook Abbey in England, died after a prolonged battle with cancer. Sr Maria was a renowned writer and spiritual director whose life and work have touched many people.

In 1982 Sr Maria edited a collection of essays in which monks and nuns of the English Benedictine Congregation shared the story of their journey into and in religious life. For many of them it was the story of a journey into communion with the Catholic Church first of all, and then, once at home there, into a new and deeper experience of faith through their commitment to the monastic life.

One of those stories, written by Dom Alan Rees, concludes with a beautiful prayer, part of which I would like to share with you this evening. While it is a prayer which simply reflects one man’s experience of God’s presence in his life, tonight, on this historic occasion, I suspect that it might catch up the thoughts of Harry and his wife, Jean, and the thoughts of the people of Harry’s community who themselves have been received tonight into full communion with the Catholic Church and who for that reason are rejoicing both for themselves and for Harry. Perhaps too it will enable all of us to reflect on the strange but faithful ways of God who calls us into life in ways that we don’t always anticipate and certainly don’t always understand.

Father, you have always been there, even from my earliest years, gently leading me on. You have always been there, Lord, leading me out of darkness into your own wonderful light; from ignorance into truth; from the isolation of self into the community of love.

Despite my wanderings, despite my complaining, despite my unwillingness to go forward, you have never deserted me. You have always remained faithful in the midst of my infidelity.

In the day time of my joy, your hidden brightness, the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, has gone before me and drawn me after it; in the night-time of my isolation, despondency and fear, your pillar of fire, the refining Spirit, has been there working in my heart, thawing my iciness and purifying me.

But, Father, pilgrim that I am, I still wander into the byways of pride, self-pity and fear. Forgive me as I turn my eyes back to you. Sharpen my awareness of your Son, Jesus, my Brother, who takes me by the hand and pulls me along in my reluctance.

Lord God, how thankful I am that you are continually searching for me; how thankful I am that your grace prompts me to recognise you and to give myself to you even in my imperfect way. Lord Jesus, how thankful I am that your love, stronger than death, will never let me go.

As we gather tonight in the Cathedral to witness, and even more to be a vital part, of this extraordinary moment as our friend, brother and, for many of you, your Father in God, receives the precious gift of priestly orders within the Catholic Church, I am sure that Harry can echo every word of this prayer. The mystery of God’s strange ways continues to unfold for Harry as he opens himself yet again, as he has done so often before, to the insistent call of God, of Christ, to “come follow me.” After all the call to the priesthood is one that Harry first heard long ago, and one to which he responded when he stepped forward to be ordained as a priest within the Anglican communion in 1964, forty eight years ago. Who knows how many people’s lives have been transformed by God’s Holy Spirit, working through Harry’s ministry as an Anglican priest and later as a bishop? Tonight, as Harry receives the gift of the priesthood within the Catholic Church, both he and we give thanks for his many years of faithful service and ministry within the Anglican tradition. We give thanks, too, for the ways in which the beauty of Anglican spirituality and worship has nourished and formed Harry and enabled him to hear and respond to the voice of God, calling him to this new path and this new ministry. Father, you have always been there, even from Harry’s earliest years, gently leading him on.

For many years Harry was a prison chaplain, first in England and later here in Perth. That ministry, I’m sure, brought Harry many moments of struggle and challenge but hopefully too many moments of joy and gratitude as he saw God’s grace bringing hope into hopeless situations. This is the life of every priest and it has been yours, Harry, for many years, as it will continue to be in the years ahead in the new and demanding ministry you take up tonight. Father, in the day time of Harry’s joy your hidden brightness, the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, has gone before him and drawn him after it; in the night-time of his isolation, despondency and fear, your pillar of fire has been there working in his heart.

Those moments of joy and of darkness were not restricted to Harry’s life as a prison chaplain. In 2006 Harry again heard the voice of God this time calling him into the Anglican Church of Australia, the Traditional Anglican Communion, where he was ordained a bishop and appointed Western Regional Bishop. It was, I suspect, a decision formed in the crucible of confusion and suffering, as well as hope. You must have wondered, Harry, about the strange ways of God yet again upsetting everything and asking of you more, perhaps, than you thought you might be able to give. The decision to say “yes” to God is not one that we make once and then forget about. It is a new decision every day and your life has been marked by a deep conviction that giving your “yes” to God every day is at the very heart of what it means for you to live your life with integrity and faith.

Now in 2012 the Lord has once again invaded your life calling you to let go of so much in order to be able to receive all that he now wants to offer you. Last Sunday you entered into full communion with the Catholic Church just as your community has done tonight. It must have been a bitter-sweet experience for you as I’m sure it is for your brothers and sisters who have joined you tonight. The rich Anglican tradition has formed and nourished you all and has been the home in which you have discovered the beauty and the call of God. It is hard to leave something so cherished, but it is perhaps the genius of Pope Benedict that he has opened a door for you to enter into full communion with Peter, and retain, joyfully and proudly, the Anglican heritage of liturgy and spirituality which you bring as your special gift to us. Lord God, how thankful we are that you are continually searching for us; how thankful we are that your grace prompts us to recognize you and to give ourselves to you even in our imperfect way. Lord Jesus, how thankful we are that your love, stronger than death, will never let us go.

With your ordination as a Catholic priest tonight, Harry, you become the first to be ordained for the new Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, which comes into being today by the will of the Holy Father. The gifts you bring, so many of them formed and nourished by your Anglican tradition, will now be strengthened and deepened through this new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. You will be reshaped by God’s grace so that, even more than in the past, you will be a living sign that Christ is among his people as their good shepherd. As you have for so many years, tonight I simply want to encourage you to continue to keep your eyes fixed on Christ. In the challenges and storms which lie ahead it is he who will reach out his hand, take you by your hand, lead you to safety and calm the storms around and within you, just as he did for Simon Peter as he came to him across the water through the wind and the waves.

We all rejoice as we welcome Jean, your wife, and your community among us and as we welcome you into the brotherhood of the priestly ministry in the Catholic Church. We thank you for your courage, your fidelity and your profound openness to God’s call. We promise to accompany you in the years ahead with our prayers, our affection and our support, and we ask you to remember us each time you come to the altar of God.

We now invited you to step forward with open hands and open heart to receive the wonderful gifts of God.