Great pageantry greets new priest
PETER WOOD’S palms, understandably, sweated a little as he waited nervously to march down the aisle at Lismore’s St Carthage’s Cathedral, but he wasn’t getting married.
Not in the conventional sense anyway.
The former St John’s College Woodlawn school captain last night joined the priesthood at the cathedral where he served for years as an alter boy and then an acolyte before deciding to don the robes of a priest.
There is no short path to the priesthood. Last night’s nervous wait in the vestry at St Carthage’s came at the end of seven years of study at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd in Sydney and a placement with the Parish of St Augustine at Coffs Harbour.
“There’s really no words to describe it,” the still Reverend Wood, now Father Wood, said when asked how he was feeling.
His brother, Jeremy, who was beaming as he watched the soon-to-be priest getting ready, knew a few.
“The family is ecstatic,” he said. “I haven’t seen my mum this excited before, ever.”
The Woods are a deeply spiritual family and mother, Remy, has devoted years to serving the church, doing readings at Mass, organising the choir, handing out pamphlets.
These days she lives in Sydney, but for 15 years Mrs Wood was a regular sight around St Carthage’s. Last night she was back to see, along with more than 300 of the faithful, her son become a priest.
Lismore Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett said the changing place of religion in society might mean the clergy were less visible these days, but Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular remained strong.
St Carthage’s Cathedral had hosted an ordination only two years ago and was expected to host two more next year.
“Young men are coming forward to be priests,” Bishop Jarrett said.