Deacons ordained for the "wonderful privilege" of service

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
5 Jul 2016

It was standing room only at St Felix de Valois parish in Bankstown on Friday evening for the Ordination to the Diaconate of Sebastian Hew, Richard Ddumba and Moses Tamale. 

Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, the Most Reverend Terry Brady, ordained Deacon Sebastian Hew, 35, as a transitional deacon for the Archdiocese of Sydney, and Deacons Richard Ddumba, 29, and Moses Tamale, 30, as transitional deacons for the Archdiocese of Kampala, Uganda.

Born in Malaysia, Deacon Sebastian completed a Bachelor of Arts and Engineering at the University of New South Wales and a PhD in Physics at Cambridge University before entering the Seminary.  Deacons Richard and Moses began their Seminary formation in Uganda before coming to Australia several years ago to complete their studies at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd in Homebush.

Bishop Brady and the new deacons were joined by Deacon Moses' mother and Father Stephen Ssekiwunga who travelled from Uganda to be present at the Ordination, Deacon Sebastian's parents, scores of priests, deacons and seminarians from the Archdiocese of Sydney and surrounds as well as the lay faithful, resulting in the sanctuary and the pews being filled to capacity.

In his homily, Bishop Brady highlighted the very special ministry of service entrusted to the deacons.  He told them it was a "wonderful privilege" to be called to follow Jesus Christ and to serve Him in His Church and in His people.  He encouraged the newly ordained to deepen their prayer life, taking time to encounter Jesus "eyeball to eyeball," noting that they would also encounter Him in the poor, vulnerable and broken.

Bishop Brady made special mention of those who had journeyed with the new deacons throughout their lives and their period of discernment - family, friends, priests, seminary staff and others.  "We embrace them all tonight and thank God for them," he said.

At the end of the Mass, Deacon Moses expressed words of thanks on behalf of the new deacons.  He thanked their families for introducing them to the faith and nurturing it in them, Sydney's Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Uganda for their support, Bishop Brady for ordaining them, seminary rectors and others involved in their formation and those present.  He asked everyone to pray for them as they perform the task of serving God and His Church.

It was a double celebration for Deacon Moses, who also celebrated his 30th birthday earlier in the same week.  He surmised that his Ordination was a "birthday gift from God."  Deacon Moses said that receiving the gift of the Diaconate was overwhelming, and admitted to feeling somewhat nervous.  "I was overjoyed to receive such a special ministry of service in the Church," he continued. "I hope I will be able to respond to this call with charity as I serve God's people and the Church."

Deacon Richard described the night as amazing.  "I couldn't even sleep for the love I was showed was consuming me," he said.  "Even though my parents and siblings were not present, I had many grandparents, mums, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters that night. These people taught me what true love means," he continued, commenting that he now feels challenged to reciprocate this love in service of God and his Church.

St Felix de Valois parish hosted a reception in the parish hall following the Ordination.