A choice for life

Love and service were the themes of the day at the ordination of Brett O’Neill SJ at St Mary’s Church on 16 July, 2022.

The ordination was a celebration of Brett’s journey to the priesthood, with his family and friends joined by many others who had accompanied him over his vocational journey at the Mass. Attendees included members of the Disciples of Jesus community and the Missionaries of God’s Love, who Brett said had played a strong role in shaping his vision of priesthood and ministry.

Presiding over the ordination was Bishop Brian Mascord, who had been Brett’s parish priest in East Maitland when Brett was younger. In his homily at the Mass, Bishop Mascord spoke about the choice to follow Jesus being a ‘choice for life’.

Bishop Brian Mascord with Fr Brett O’Neill SJ.

‘When we think deeply about it, we know that we are made for love and that means both giving and receiving. It’s not something that we learn but something rather that we experience, and we understand it at the depths of our heart’, said Bishop Mascord.

‘Brett, today you are responding to the experience that you have had all your life. With your family, within the community of faith, and more recently within this Jesuit community.’

Bishop Mascord said the choice to follow Christ is a choice to serve – to serve those broken by society, to free those who are imprisoned in whatever way, and to announce that all people are profoundly loved by God.

‘At the heart of your decision to follow Christ, to live in that love, is the idea of service. In the experience of Ignatius, you choose to serve. You are called to recognise that God is active in our world and in our lives. Not a spirituality of pious devotion, but a spirituality of service to others, because of the relationship we have with that person of Jesus.’

L-R: Fr Nico Lariosa SJ, Isaac Demase SJ, Fr Andy Nguyen SJ, Bishop Brian Mascord, Fr Brett O’Neil SJ, Fr Quyen Vu SJ, Matthew Pinson SJ, Joshua Choong SJ, Julian Butler SJ.

Speaking at the end of the ordination, the newly-ordianed Fr O’Neill offered thanks to all those who were involved in the celebration, as well as those who had accompanied him on his faith journey. He also especially thanked his mother, who was unable to attend due to illness.

Finally, he thanked his fellow Jesuits for their love and support, and asked those present to pray that others might follow him and give themselves to God’s service through the Society.

‘I really love being a Jesuit. I really love sharing this ministry together, sharing our lives together in service, and being in companionship with Jesus. So I ask all of you here to pray for more vocations to the Society of Jesus.’

Michael McVeigh

You can watch the full ordination service below: