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Ordination worth the wait


Preparing for his ordination last month, Fr Stefan Wise LC had a lot of time to reflect on his journey to the priesthood.

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Returning to Adelaide from Mexico, where he lives and ministers for the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, Fr Wise had 14 days of medi-hotel quarantine prior to his ordination by Archbishop Patrick O’Regan on August 28.

“I usually get really nervous but I feel a lot of peace,” he told The Southern Cross in a phone interview on Day 11 of his quarantine period.

Fr Wise, 30, said he was coping well with the solitude as Mexico has been in lockdown for nearly 18 months and he was “quite used to not going to the school and working from home”.

However, he admitted that once released he was really looking forward to catching up with his parents Lucy and Mark and his sisters Claudia and Natasha, who attend St Augustine’s Church in the Salisbury parish (and prior to that Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in the Albert Park-Pennington parish). His twin brother Daniel lives in Melbourne and along with many other relatives was unable to attend the ordination.

Fr Stefan Wise LC

In a COVID-free world, Fr Wise’s ordination would have ordinarily been conducted in Rome alongside his fellow Legionaries brothers and priests. Instead they had to be content to ‘attend’ the celebration in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral virtually.

Born in Adelaide, Fr Wise spent his first seven years in Berri before the family moved back to Adelaide. His calling to the priesthood came at an early age.

“I remember vividly my first confession and ever since I began going to Mass, I was fascinated by the priest and I memorised the words of consecration,” he explained.

With proud parents Mark and Lucy,

“I had the opportunity to visit the minor seminary of the Legionaries of Christ in New Hampshire and I went – and I loved it!

“Ever since the very first years there I really felt at home. There was a great spirit of charity among the boys … it was everything, the spiritual life, the daily Rosary, the Mass.

“To me it was just amazing to be with so many young men wanting to be changed, wanting to love Christ, wanting to do something with their life that would really mark history.”

From the minor seminary he went to Spain for three years for his novitiate and humanities studies, before heading to Rome to study Philosophy.

As part of his formation he worked at a school in Chile for three years, then completed his studies of Theology and took his perpetual vows at the age of 28 in Rome.

In 2019 he moved to Mexico City and began working at a university, tending to the pastoral needs of the 12,000 students.

“Mexico is amazing,” he said.

“One of the greatest quirks of Mexico is that the Legionaries movement and Regnum Christi was founded there so it is beautiful to see how they have really marked the culture. For example, you are out driving in the streets and you see random cars with the mission’s logo.”

Fr Wise is scheduled to return to Mexico later this month where he will be chaplain of a primary school.

“I’m really looking forward to forming a priestly heart among the kids and practising a true spiritual fatherhood,” he added.


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