Australian Congregation Ordains Seven Men

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
23 Nov 2015

Archbishop Hart ordains Isuru Weliwatte MGL to the priesthood at St Dominic's Camberwell in Melbourne

The Missionaries of God's Love (MGL) along with friends and family had reason to celebrate in Melbourne last Friday with the ordination of seven men to their ranks. Two were to the priesthood and five were to the diaconate.

Archbishop Denis Hart, Archbishop of Melbourne was the principal celebrant at the ordinations at St Dominic's Church in Camberwell, along with priests of the Archdiocese, MGL priests and the founder of the MGL Congregation, Fr Ken Barker.

Archbishop Hart expressed his gratefulness for the presence of the Missionaries of God's Love in his Archdiocese.
"I am honoured to have the Missionaries of God's Love in Melbourne" said Archbishop Hart, explaining the MGL have established Eucharistic centres in parishes and been an encouraging presence at the Catholic Theological College.
In his homily he urged the ordinands to be "absorbed into Christ", and affirmed that the gift of celibacy brings a pastoral and spiritual fruitfulness to the Church.

Ordinands from left, Rembert Fernando, David Lemewu, Adam Crouch, Daniel Serratore, Antony Santhiyagu, Isuru Weliwatte & Lenin Thenamirtham

"Keep always before your eyes the example of the good shepherd who came to serve and not be served, and to seek out and save the lost" Archbishop Hart said.

The two men ordained to the priesthood are Lenin Thenamirtham and Isuru Weliwatte.

The five men ordained to the deaconate are Adam Crouch, Rembert Fernando, David Lemewu, Antony Santhiyagu and Daniel Serratore. It is hoped they will be ordained to the priesthood at celebrations in Canberra and Melbourne sometime next year.

Father Isuru Weliwatte, 33 years old was born in Sri Lanka and came to Australia to study commerce in Melbourne. There he encountered the work of the Missionaries of God's Love. Drawn to the passionate preaching of one of the MGL priests, he was inspired to look into the priesthood. "I wanted to preach the Gospel and live the Gospel radically" said Fr Isuru, explaining he was attracted to the witness of the Missionaries of God's Love who seemed to be doing exactly that.

Fr Ken Barker (right) founder of the Missionaries of God's Love and Fr Chris Ryan at the ordination of seven MGL brothers

From the Sutherland Shire in Sydney, Deacon Daniel Serratore, 34 years old, worked in hospitality and management for nine years before going into business and finance. Though he had a sense of a call to the priesthood from his teenage years, he didn't act upon it until later in life after attending a weekend retreat. Daniel encountered some of the younger MGLs and saw through their passionate and authentic witness the possibility of himself becoming a priest.

Both men along with the five others have had extensive experience in youth ministry, mission and evangelisation, and working with the poor during the time they discerned their vocation living with the Missionaries of God's Love and the Disciples of Jesus lay community, from which the MGL sprang.

It was only in February last year that the Missionaries of God's Love, founded by Fr Barker in 1986, gained recognition by the Vatican as a Religious Institute of Diocesan Rite. On that occasion at a large celebration in St Christopher's Cathedral in Canberra Archbishop Christopher Prowse described the Missionaries of God's Love as "a sign of the great fruits of the charismatic and new ecclesial movements in the church today." The seven ordinations in Melbourne this week were evidence of some of these fruits.

The fire of God's love is central to the charism of the Missionaries of God's Love. Its members wear a simple cross with a flame at its centre signifying they exist in order to share in Jesus' mission to bring this fire to the earth. The flame is also the fire of the Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost and now experienced in a new way in the Church. The congregation summarises its charism with the words of Christ from the gospel of Luke, "I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!" (Lk 12:49)

The MGL priests and brothers are one of only a few religious congregations established in Australia by Australians to be formally recognised by the Pontifical Congregation of Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life. They are a congregation established under the grace of the Charismatic Renewal and are located in Canberra, Melbourne, Darwin and Manila. A MGL Sisterhood also exists and is located in branches of the Disciples of Jesus Community in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

For more information about the MGL Priests and Brothers:

For more information about the MGL Sisters: