Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster reflected on the priesthood on Saturday, preaching at the Mass of the priestly ordination of Jonathan Goodall, a former Church of England bishop.

“As we come to this ordination, I suggest that there are two sets of words and images with which to understand the priesthood that we ask of God and affirm in our actions today. It is the priest who is to bear these promises of heaven. It is in his sacred ministry that these disclosures are made,” Cardinal Nichols said March 12 at Westminster Cathedral in London.

In September 2021 Goodall, the Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet, announced he was stepping down from that role “in order to be received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.”

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Cardinal Nichols noted that “We come to this ordination at the end of the first week of Lent, seeking ‘the one thing necessary’, to do the will of God. Lent is the season of the promise of heaven, in which we prepare our hearts to receive afresh the gift of our redemption.”

He preached that the priest “is to break open the Word of God, diffusing its light into everyday circumstances,” setting “before his people the first and best fruits of the heavenly kingdom, the sacred Body and Blood of Christ, a foretaste of the heavenly banquet itself.”

A priest is who “lays bare the gifts of heaven, leading the pilgrimage on its heavenly journey, nurturing the assembled people, disclosing the joy and promise of what lies ahead,” the cardinal preached. “The priest is to be the effective sign and standard-bearer of those glimpses of heaven. He is to constantly hold before us the promise of the fullness for which we are created, the perfection to which we are summoned, by the words of Jesus himself, to seek above all else. We thank God for the gift of such a priesthood.”

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