Canning Vale Parish welcomes new parish priest
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB celebrated the installation Mass of the new Parish Priest for Canning Vale Parish on Sunday 1 November. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.
By Theresia Titus
The role of Parish Priests in supporting Perth Catholics in becoming Saints, with all their gifts and limitations, was the key message delivered by the Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB at the installation Mass of the new Parish Priest for Canning Vale Parish, Father Jean-Noël Antoine Marie.
Celebrated at St Emilie de Vialar Catholic Church on All Saints’ feast day, 1 November, the Mass was concelebrated by Fr Jean-Noel and Assistant Priest Fr Victor Manuel Lujano.
Ordained to the Priesthood by Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey at Infant Jesus Church, Morley Parish on 5 June 2009, he has also served in the roles of Archdiocesan Vocations Director, as well as Vice-Rector and First-Year Formator at St Charles Seminary in Guildford.
“I am very excited about the path ahead but also very conscious of the awesome responsibility and the many challenges that accompany the role of Parish Priest.
“I am very grateful to Archbishop Costelloe his confidence in my ability to lead the people of the Parish of Canning Vale at this crucial point in the history of this young but vibrant and thriving community,” Fr Marie told The Record.
“As the Parish Priest, I feel that we need to respond to the crucial needs of our people at various levels especially in these uncertain times as we try to address very complex issues in such a fragile and volatile environment.
“I am confident that with God’s grace we will be able to encounter Christ at a deeper level and as a community be transformed by that experience,” he added.
Fr Marie believes that being a Parish Priest means he should “remain a shepherd, pastor and father to his people”.
“The Parish Priest should be a Priest for all. He must foster unity rather than division and disharmony. He must be a bridge maker and works at reconciling differences. To do all this he must a man of prayer, one who abides with Christ the Good shepherd and in so doing draws his people closer to the Father,” he said.
Archbishop Costelloe began his homily by sharing his experiences in celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmations for the young people of the Church, and the meaning behind choosing a patron Saint.
In his homily, Archbishop Costelloe emphasised the importance of the role of Parish Priest, especially in helping his congregation to become Saints. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.
“While the choice may be dictated by family tradition, or by the fact that a famous sportsperson might have that particular name, or simply by current fashion, I suggest to the young people that behind all of this God may have been at work in their heart because there is something in the story of their chosen saint which God is offering the young confirmation candidate as a special gift for their future journey in life,” he said.
“In the end, of course, this is what a saint is: a committed, faithful follower of Jesus. It is someone who takes Jesus seriously when he says: ‘I am the Way, I am the Truth, I am the Life’, and who then lives his or her life according to that conviction.”
Archbishop Costelloe emphasised that feast of All Saints celebrated that day was an invitation for all of us to “recall the untold millions of faithful people who, often in hidden and seemingly ordinary and even mundane ways, have lived lives of extraordinary faith, courage and fidelity and who, no less than the canonised saints, enjoy the fullness of life with God in Heaven”.
While it might seem “a little too presumptuous or big-headed to think of ourselves as an “actual, or even potential, saints” because of our sins and faults we are well aware of, Archbishop Costelloe believes it is also the reason why celebrating Mass regularly and “draw strength from each other’s faith” is necessary.
New Canning Vale Parish Priest Father Jean-Noël Antoine Marie. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.
“It is why we have parishes and why, at the heart of each parish, we have a parish priest. More than being a wonderful administrator, or even a fantastic preacher, our priests are called to be living reminders that Jesus is still among us as our Good Shepherd, ready to help us follow the path of holiness set out for us by our one true Good Shepherd, Jesus himself,” he added.
“As we formally install Fr Jean-Noel as your Parish Priest this morning, we recognise that it is his role to help us become saints – not plaster or plastic saints, as some of our statues, but living and breathing saints who are ready to give our lives in service to each other, just as Jesus gave his life for us.
Archbishop Costelloe with concelebrants Parish Priest Fr Jean-Noël Marie and Assistant Priest Fr Victor Manuel Lujano, along with the altar servers and acolytes for the Mass. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.
“This is what Fr Jean-Noel and Fr Victor have been trying to do here in your parish community. It is what Fr Chien did so faithfully for the years he was with you. It is what all our priests, with all their gifts and all their limitations, are trying to do.
“I ask you to support Fr Jean-Noel as he officially takes on this role, which he has of course been fulfilling for some time now. Offer him your friendship, your support and most of all your prayers. May he continue to be a sign and bearer of God’s love for you all – and may you all continue to be signs and bearers of God’s love for him,” he concluded.