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Joyful ordinations during Lent


It was a day of celebration and reflection on a long journey, at times interrupted by a pandemic, as the Adelaide Archdiocese welcomed two new priests into its fold last month.

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Anthony Beltrame, 31, and Olek Stirrat, 26, were ordained by Archbishop Patrick O’Regan in front of family and friends at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on March 12. For the first time in two years there were no density restrictions in South Australia, allowing members of the Catholic community to join the celebration.

In his homily Archbishop O’Regan said he hoped Fr Stirrat and Fr Beltrame would always remember they were ordained during Lent.

“In a culture that celebrates indulgence, entitlement, winning at all costs, hubris and bravado, Lent signals a wonderfully and outrageously counter-cultural enactment of loss and humility,” he said.

Archbishop O’Regan paid tribute to the men’s parents, Lino and Pia Beltrame and Renata and Alex Stirrat.

“You have been accompanying these characters for some time; continue,” he said.

The heritage of both men was recognised throughout the celebration, with Fr Stirrat’s mother giving a reading in Polish and the newly-ordained priest also addressing the congregation in Polish at the end of Mass.

“I have come the vast majority of my spiritual journey in Australia, however I would like to emphasise how important the spirituality of my second homeland – Poland – is for me,” said Fr Stirrat, who was born in Poland.

“It is the Polish saints who constantly inspire me. It was their spirituality that became a beacon on my journey to the priesthood – and I am convinced they will guide me still further.”


Fr Olek Stirrat with his parents, Alex and Renata, after celebrating Mass for the first time at his home parish of Hectorville.

Reflecting on his ordination day, Fr Stirrat said the “most moving” moment for him was the litany of saints.

“As I was laying there prostrate I was imagining all the saints mentioned surrounding me, praying for me with a smile on their faces… it brought a tear to my eyes.

“The whole experience was overwhelming… the love, prayer and support of the people, those present physically and virtually, it was so tangible.

“I am just thrilled that my 99-year-old grandad Tadeusz was able to attend in his wheelchair, sitting up front.”

Fr Beltrame, a former Rostrevor College student, also honoured his ancestry and speaking in Italian said he would never forget that his roots are in Riese, “the home of my Nonni and our beloved St Pius X, whose wonderful example of faith and humility I wish to follow”.

For him, the fraternal kiss of peace during the ordination Mass was a moment he will never forget.

“In this moment I truly experienced the brotherhood into which I was entering, and receiving the massive hugs and words of encouragement from priests who have supported me for so many years was just so moving,” he said.

Fr Anthony Beltrame with his parents, Lino and Pia, and his siblings and their families at Tranmere.

Celebrating his first Mass the following day at Tranmere was another highlight of the weekend.

“I was just so grateful and in such awe that now I could say the words of Christ, ‘this is my body… this is my blood’,” Fr Beltrame explained.

“Even now I am still so excited to say Mass. It is such a gift to be able to lead the people of God in prayer and to celebrate the sacraments.”

Fr Stirrat celebrated his first Mass at his ‘home’ parish of Hectorville on Sunday March 13.

Fr Beltrame will continue serving in the Cathedral parish following his appointment as an assistant priest. Fr Stirrat remains in the parishes of Mount Gambier and Millicent having also been appointed an assistant priest.


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