Celebrating thirty years of priesthood
Yesterday evening five Jesuits celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of their ordination to the priesthood with many family and old friends. The Sacred Heart Church in Wimbledon was the location of the ordinations in 1988, celebrated by Bishop Victor Guazelli and Fr Michael Campbell-Johnson SJ, who had recently taken over as Provincial.
All five Jesuits retained strong links to the Wimbledon area so it was fitting to return to the Sacred Heart Church for the celebration. Both Adrian Porter SJ and Michael Holman SJ (to the left of the picture) are former headteachers of Wimbledon College. Paul Nicholson SJ, (second form right) David Smolira SJ (far right) and Michael Holman SJ were all pupils at the College and grew up locally.
The current Headteacher Adrian Laing was there to witness the celebration along with chaplain James Potter and many current and former teachers and pupils of the College.
Peter Gallagher SJ (pictured centre) was the principal celebrant and homilist. He was joined by Paul Nicholson SJ, David Smolira SJ, Michael Holman SJ and Adrian Porter SJ, together with Canon John Clark, the parish priest, and Deacon Julian Burling.
“It was wonderful to see so many faces from the past – from teachers who had taught us, and taught alongside us, through to school contemporaries and many other friends and companions in mission,” said Paul Nicholson.
In his homily, Fr Peter talked about anniversaries as opportunities to reflect with gratitude on the time God has granted us, and the ways in which we have experienced His gifts, in relationship with God Himself and with others.
Fr Paul voiced the thanks of the group to Canon John (only the second non-Jesuit parish priest of Sacred Heart Church) for making them so welcome, and to Fr Michael Barnes SJ, Superior of the Loyola Jesuit community in Wimbledon, who hosted a celebratory meal after the mass.
This is what they looked like then: at the altar are Fr Campbell-Johnson and Bishop Guazelli, on the right are Michael McHugh SJ, Paul Nicholson SJ, David Smolira SJ and Michael Holman SJ
In 1988 outside the church, from left, David Smolira, Adrian Porter, Michael Holman, Peter Gallagher, Fr CJ and Bishop Guazelli, Peter Brook and Michael McHugh, Paul Nicholson