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Perth Archdiocese gains three Shepherds called by God


Fathers Liam Ryan, Mark Rucci, and Matteo Verdi were Ordained to the Priesthood on Friday 16 August at the St Mary’s Cathedral. Here they stand with Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton and Archdiocesan Priests. Photo: Ron Tan.

By Amanda Murthy

“You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.” – John 15:16

Priests are called by God to be living signs of the presence of Jesus among His people as their Good Shepherd in the concrete realities of today’s world and today’s Church, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB told the St Mary’s Cathedral congregation who were present on Friday 16 August to witness the auspicious Ordination to the Priesthood of Fathers Matteo Verdi, Liam Ryan, and Mark Rucci.


From left: Fr Michael Moore SM, Fr Peter Whitely VG, Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey, Fr Matteo Verdi, Fr Liam Ryan, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Fr Mark Rucci, Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton, and Fr Phillip Fleay celebrate the Eucharist at St Mary’s Cathedral on 16 August. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

Archbishop Costelloe celebrated the Ordination Mass alongside concelebrants Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton, Vicar General Fr Peter Whitely, Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey, St Mary’s Cathedral Dean Fr Sean Fernandez, St Charles’ Seminary Rector Fr Philip Fleay, Redemptoris Mater Seminary Rector Fr Michael Moore SM, more than 60 other clergymen, and assisted by Deacon Bruce Talbot.

Speaking to the three candidates, Archbishop Costelloe in his homily expressed the importance of listening with attentiveness and humility, and responding with courage to God’s call.

“No matter what winding pathways you have travelled in order to find yourselves here this evening, and no matter how much you may at times have thought yourselves to be in charge of your journey determining every step, the reality is very different.

“God has brought you here and God will lead you forward into the future,” he added.

The Perth Archbishop went on to state that the Church in 2019, the same Church founded by Jesus long ago, could in many respects be hardly more different to the infant Church which came to birth through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.


Fr Matteo Verdi was ordained a priest at St Mary’s Cathedral on Friday 16 August. Photo: Ron Tan.


Fr Mark Rucci was ordained a priest at St Mary’s Cathedral on Friday 16 August. Photo: Ron


Fr Liam Ryan was ordained a priest at St Mary’s Cathedral on Friday 16 August. Photo: Ron Tan.

“Rather, seek to help the Lord’s Church today to be more faithful, more fruitful, more in reality what it already is, in its theology.

“Do not long for the Church of the past, do not believe you are called to refashion some new kind of Church of the future,” Archbishop Costelloe cited.

“You will do this if, like the one to whom you will be united in a new and powerful way tonight, you are really alive to the needs of the people of today to whom you are sent, people who in many ways are harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd, just like the people of Jesus’ time and place.

“Set yourself to care for them, set yourself to teach them,” he continued.


Father’s Liam Ryan, Mark Rucci and Matteo Verdi prostrate during their Ordination Mass on Friday 16 August at the St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.

Echoing the words of St John Bosco’s mother on the eve of his ordination to the priesthood: “John, remember that to begin to say Mass is to begin to suffer” – Archbishop Costelloe agreed that what may sounds like a bleak warning is really a promise that a faithful priest will share fully in the experience of his Lord.

“Every time you stand at the altar, you will do this in memory of Jesus. But what you do at the altar you must also do with your life,” Archbishop Costelloe affirmed.

“The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, prefigured in the Last Supper, was the final moment in a life which was totally given over in love to God and to and for God’s people.

“It was because of love that the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us - It was love that informed everything Jesus said and did for us during his life, it was because of love that Jesus went to the cross and through the cross to the fullness of life which he shares with us.”


Fr Matteo Verdi, Fr Liam Ryan, and Fr Mark Rucci during their Ordination to the Priesthood on 16 August at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Matthew Lau.

Archbishop Costelloe added that it was in every sense and in every way that the self-sacrificing love of Christ saved us.

“This is the same self-sacrificing love which Liam, Matteo and Chris are called to embody in your life and ministry, so that the love of God can be seen, and touched, and experienced by God’s holy people.


Archbishop Costelloe receives a blessing from newly ordained priest Fr Liam Ryan. Photo: Ron Tan.

“What Saint Augustine said to his people: ‘For you I am a priest, but with you I am a Christian’, you must be able to say to your people of yourself,” Archbishop Costelloe said.

“The former is a duty, the latter a grace.  The former is a danger; the latter, salvation.  May your realisation of yourself as a graced person, brought to life in Christ and joined to the community of disciples through baptism, help you to live your ministerial priesthood in humility, in service, and in communion with all your brothers and sisters in the faith.”

Fr Liam Ryan Fr Matteo Verdi, and Fr Mark Rucci will each serve as Assistant Parish Priest of Midland Parish, Osborne Park Parish, and Ballajura Parish respectively.