Most probably, the first ordination ever held in the parish. On Saturday, 24th June, Bishop Tony Robinson of Wakefield, with Bishop Robert Ladds and priests of The Society, ordained Alex Ladds, our curate-in-training, to the sacred priesthood, in the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Thornton-in-Craven. Good weather, a full church, great singing, a wonderful and moving occasion.
The next day, Sunday morning, at the Church of All Saints, Broughton-in-Airedale, Fr Alex celebrated his First Mass, giving individual blessings at the end of the service; before we all gathered in the church hall for a buffet lunch and presentations. Fr Damien Feeney, a former curate of Bishop Ladds when he was a vicar in Lancashire, and one time Vice-Principal of St Stephen’s House, gave a memorable homily which can be downloaded here.
The trilogy was completed the next Sunday at the Church of St Peter, Martons Both, when Fr Alex celebrated his first Holy Communion according to the rites of the Book of Common Prayer (complete with the Exhortation).
Fr Alex’s own words:
‘Over a decade ago I walked into a room at Mirfield for an Additional Curates Society weekend exploring vocation; I was surprised (and encouraged) to find that out of the two dozen people in the room I was one of three police officers! Fast forward to the last week of June 2017 and I am reflecting upon being Ordained Priest and celebrating my First Mass. It has been a long journey, not without unexpected twists and turns, ups and downs and the odd dead end.
‘The journey up to this point would not have been possible without the help, encouragement and support of so many people, my family, friends, Father Nicolas and Canon Ann, and last but not least the wonderful parishioners of BMT. Despite all the preparation I was not prepared for the impact that this weekend would have on me. I have tried to explain to others how Ordination ‘felt’ and words fail me. The sense of being supported, uplifted, blessed and loved leaves me with no words.
‘This was followed less than 24 hours later by my First Mass. once again I felt unprepared for the emotions that would accompany this service. The sense of closeness, not just with God but with you all was so consuming and overwhelming; I hope and pray that celebrating the Mass never loses that sense of awe and wonder, that numinosity. I would like to thank all who worked so very hard to make my Ordination and First Mass such a wonderful occasion.
‘The churches looked fantastic, the flowers adding to the beauty of the buildings. Thank you too for all the effort that went into the catering at both services and the magnificent cake! I was very well fed, not just spiritually but physically as well. I am looking forward to continuing my Curacy in the Parish and also for your continued support and patience, I may have been Priested but I am still learning. I am blessed to have so many good friends to help me on the next leg of this exciting journey.’
For more photos, go to the Gallery