Induction of Fr Ignatius Edet
7th December 2018
What a wonderful sight: a full church, and a hall fit to bursting! People of every age taking part from members of OLI School to the more senior members of our community, and everyone in between.
Fr Ignatius was blessed with many people in attendance representing communities he has served, and continues to serve, with parishioners of OLI in Tolworth, St John Fisher Merton, St Mary of the Crays, and the fabulous choir of the Akwa Cross Catholic Community of the Nigerian Catholic Chaplaincy.
During the Rite of Induction, Fr Ignatius, after The Dean had read the Letter of Appointment, and with his hand on the Book of Gospels, made his Profession of Faith. This was followed by the signing of the letter of appointment, various declarations of commitment between Fr Ignatius and the parish community, and then he was presented (ceremonially) with the Keys of the Parish and his Document of Appointment. Finally, he greeted representatives of ministers of other Christian Communities, and the Deputy Mayor of Kingston.
Fr Ignatius then made an address to all in attendance, the text of which is below.
I know I speak on behalf of the whole parish when I say that it is a huge privilege to have the opportunity of witnessing a priests ministry, and on behalf of the whole parish, I would like to extend huge congratulations to Fr Ignatius on his induction, and a thank you to him for all he has, and will do within our community, and assure him of our love, prayers and support in the years to come.
Address to the parish given by Fr Ignatius during his Mass of Induction into the parish of OLI Tolworth
The life and ministry of the priest is very important for the Christian community. While it is true that the priest is a gift to the Christian community, the priest does not stand over and above the Christian community. His identity and mission are integral to the community’s identity and mission. This identity is rooted in the common baptism through which we all become, fundamentally, God’s holy people, his Church, called to one and the same vocation, namely to be holy (see 1 Peter 1:15-16; Lumen gentium, §§39-42), and through which we all have received a share in the threefold office of Christ as priest, prophet and king (see 1 Peter 2:9). The Christian community is, therefore, also a gift to the priest.
From the common priesthood some men are chosen and ordained to the ministerial priesthood, not to lord it over their brothers and sisters but to serve them after the example of Christ the eternal high priest who came ‘to serve and not be served, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45).
The common priesthood of all the baptised and the ministerial priesthood of the ordained both express in a manner proper to each of them, this one priesthood of Christ and are therefore mutually interrelated, although as Vatican II’s dogmatic constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium teaches, “they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree” (Lumen gentium, §10). The fact of their fundamental interrelatedness means that they must work collaboratively and not in competition, with the greatest responsibility of service laid on the ministerial priests who, as Vatican II says again in its decree on the ministry and life of priests, must discern, encourage and promote the many charisms distributed to the people of God by the holy spirit through their regeneration and adoption in baptism (Presbyterorum ordinis, §9).
The rite of pastoral induction which we have just celebrated witnesses to this spirit and reality.
It is with a deep sense of humility that I have accepted God’s call, through the human agency of Archbishop Peter, to be the pastor of this parish of Our Lady Immaculate.
I want to thank you all for the kind welcome I have received since my arrival here on 18 September. As I said in our first parish Open Evening, I am here in your midst first and foremost as your brother – as a fellow parishioner – and, then, despite my unworthiness, as your pastor and priest: ‘No one takes this honour upon himself …’ (Hebrews 5:4).
In the words of St Augustine, ‘for you I am a priest / pastor, but with you I am a Christian … Where I’m terrified by what I am for you, I am given comfort by what I am with you’ (Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 340).
I entrust myself and my ministry with and among you to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate, and to her most chaste spouse, St Joseph, as I commit myself to you, to be nothing but a servant of the Gospel and the Cross of Christ, a pastor who, in the words of Pope Francis, “takes on the ‘smell of the sheep,” as I earnestly pray that you the flock of God entrusted to my pastoral care may also be willing to hear the voice of Christ the true shepherd in and through me (see Evangelii gaudium, §24). Thank you all and may God bless you all and our parish.