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Newly ordained Deacon Felipe Fernandez, second from left, with Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, third from left, Redemptoris Mater Seminary Rector, Fr Michael Moore SM, first left and Vice-Rector, Fr Luis Tijerino, far right. Photo: Ron Tan.

The deacon is to be a servant who goes out to the wide fields of the world to bring Christ to the people, Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton has said.

Speaking at the Ordination to the Diaconate of Redemptoris Mater Seminarian, Andres Felipe Fernandez, Thursday 18 August at St Mary’s Cathedral, Bishop Sproxton continued saying that the deacon serves both the people of the Church and reaches out to the people of the world.

“There will be many lessons to be learnt in this time of diaconal ministry on the value and necessity of patient and loving service,” Bishop Sproxton said.

“Felipe, let the Spirit guide you to those moments, welcome or unwelcome, and believe that you will understand even more deeply the love of the Father for his people and for you,” he continued.

More than 300 people gathered for the Ordination Mass, celebrated by Bishop Sproxton and concelebrated by Redemptoris Mater Seminary Rector, Fr Michael Moore SM, Vice-Rector Fr Luis Tijerino, Spiritual Director Fr Noe Navarette-Apaez, Fr Tony Trafford, from the Neocatechumenal Way Australia National Catechist Team, with Deacon Nicholas Diedler assisting, and numerous priests from across the Archdiocese of Perth also in attendance.

Continuing his homily, Bishop Sproxton addressed Felipe, saying the service for the Church,

will be through his [Felipe’s] service at the Eucharist, the celebration of public prayer, administering Baptism, assisting and blessing Marriages, bringing Viaticum to the dying and conducting funerals.

“Your service to the people beyond the walls of our parishes and communities will be by being a sacrament or sign to them and in your careful proclamation of the Good News, and in your charity,” Bishop Sproxton said.


Felipe Fernandez lays prostrate during the Litany of the Saints during his Ordination to the Diaconate, Thursday 18 August at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.

Originally from the town of Popayán, Colombia, 29-year-old Felipe was trained at Perth’s Redemptoris Mater Seminary, arriving in 2012 at the age of 19.

His vocational journey to the priesthood commenced after he listed to a series of catechesis of the Neocatechumenal Way at the age of 13, in his parish church of Iglesia Espíritu Santo, Popayán.

As party of his seminary training, Felipe served in Broome for one year, and due to challenges caused by COVID, continued his itinerancy in parishes of Perth including Cottesloe, Mirrabooka and Baldivis.


Originally from the town of Popayán, Colombia, 29-year-old Felipe was trained at Perth’s Redemptoris Mater Seminary, arriving in 2012 at the age of 19. Photo: Ron Tan.

 “The Ordination was a great sign for me, particularly during the Litany of the Saints, when I could feel the prayers of the saints and the people around me,” Deacon Felipe said, following his ordination.

“It has been a significant moment of communion; particularly knowing my family and friends were watching in Colombia who were also very moved by the occasion,” he said.

Speaking about the Order of the Diaconate, Bishop Sproxton told Felipe that from today, he is to be an official representative of the community of Christ’s faithful.


Newly ordained Deacon Felipe Fernandez speaks a message to his family in Colombia, following his Ordination, which was livestreamed, Thursday 18 August at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.

 “People will be looking to you to be a living reminder of the Word that heals and transforms.

“You will be a sacrament for others whenever you teach through your actions and words.

“The Spirit chooses you to be an instrument of cohesion, one who, in your own person, works at becoming what you are meant to be, a Christian, and a sign of the possibility of conversion to others.”

Deacon Felipe will serve in a parish for the next 12 months in preparation for priesthood.

About the Redemptoris Mater Seminary

The Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Seminary in Morley was established in August 1994 and was specifically set up to train and form priests of the Neocatechumenal Way.

St John Paul II described the Way, founded in Spain by Kiko Aguello in the 1960s, as an itinerary of faith valid for our society and our times, one of the new charisms of the Second Vatican Council to bring the light of the Gospel to today’s secular society.

Rector Fr Michael Moore SM is assisted by Vice-Rector, Fr Luis Tijerino and Fr Noe Navarrete-Apaez; both of whom also trained at Morley.