BISHOP KIERAN Conry of Arundel and Brighton ordained Andrew Moss a priest on Saturday January 2.
More than 50 priests added to a congregation that filled the Crawley parish Church of St Francis and St Anthony such that people were standing in the aisles as Fr Moss was ordained. It was the diocese’s first priestly ordination of the year.
Fr Moss, known to his friends as Andy, had been baptised a Catholic but had not been brought up as one and it was only as a young man that he found the Christian faith.
He spent time with the ecumenical community on the Scottish island of Iona before taking up a teaching job in Brighton where he became fully part of the Church at the parish of St Joseph’s. There, he worked with young people and helped form the music group. It was in Brighton that he applied for the priesthood.
He trained for the priesthood at the English College in Rome, studying at the Gregorian University for five years before heading to Ottawa in Canada for further studies. He returns there this year for further training before returning to the diocese to work in a parish.
Bishop Conry reminded him during his ordination homily that Fr Moss must remember that he is a priest for others not for his own sake. He is to model his life on Christ and be a “portal” or “gateway” so that others can reach Christ. In the words of the ceremony of ordination he is to “lead the holy people in love and nourish them by God’s word”. He is to celebrate Mass worthily and preach well. He should also remember, in the words of one of documents of the Church, On the Ministry and Life of Priests, that he will be “powerless to serve people if he remains aloof from their everyday needs and concerns”.
Fr Moss at the end of the ordination gave his blessing to his mother and the rest of his family as well as other members of the congregation before joining everyone for a celebration in the parish hall. The next day, on the Sunday, he celebrated his first Mass at his old parish of St Joseph’s with, once more, a full church of family, friends and parishioners accompanied by uplifting music from his old music group of young people.
Fr Moss’s is expected to be the first of several ordinations to the priesthood that take place this year in the diocese.