The Southern Cross The Southern Cross

Read the latest edition. Latest edition

Ordained to listen


After a journey spanning five years and two continents, former credit analyst James Thomson was ordained to the priesthood in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on May 27.

Print article

Family, friends and a large contingent of priests from the Archdiocese attended the morning Ordination Mass celebrated by Archbishop Patrick O’Regan. Special guests included Fr Thomson’s formation adviser, Monsignor William Fay, who travelled from Pope John XXIII Seminary in Boston, USA, while fellow seminarians watched the joyful ceremony via livestream.

In his homily, Archbishop O’Regan told UK-born James that he should “never forget” that he was ordained on the eve of Pentecost and the feast of St Augustine of Canterbury, “the great missionary to Britain, sent by Pope Gregory the Great”.

Archbishop O’Regan added that many times in his ministry James would be called to be “the advocate, the paraclete”.

“Your ministry of being a paraclete means you will also be a comforter and a strength for others,” he said.

“Listening to God has brought you to this day…you’ve listened to God’s call, you’ve responded to God’s call.

“After today, do not stop listening. You’ve developed a listening ear, do not lose this. Let the pattern already at work in you, namely you’ve listened and you responded, always characterise your cheerful disposition and ministry.”

James was 27 when he migrated to Australia with his family and completed his accountancy degree. In 2018 the Hallett Cove parishioner quit his job with a financial institution and entered the seminary for mature age candidates in Boston.

James’ journey to becoming a priest was impacted by the pandemic, which forced him to return home and study remotely from Adelaide. Ordained a deacon last September, he spent his pastoral year in parishes, including Mount Gambier.

Newly-ordained priest Fr James Thomson with Archbishop Patrick O’Regan and family members, from left, sister Hannah and Philip Gorvin and their daughters Poppy and Eva, his parents Jasimine and Michael Thomson, sister Olivia and Charlie Thomas and their sons Noah and Oliver, and his aunt Alexandra Ryan.

Speaking to the congregation after his ordination, Fr Thomson, 44, said following his call to vocation was “the easiest decision I’ve ever had to make”.

“The reason I’m able to stand here with this confidence is because of you – God’s holy people, the true witnesses to the Kingdom of God,” he said.

“As I look back on my life, I can’t help but reflect on all the people who have been so instrumental to my vocation over the years. Many of you are here today, many who are watching from afar, and many who have gone before me.”

Fr Thomson said it was fitting that he was ordained in the Cathedral as he was convinced his faith journey started with the great saint, Francis Xavier.

“It was this great missionary, who some 500 years ago took Catholicism to India and it was in Calcutta that three generations of my family were educated by the Jesuits,” he explained.

“It was through this religious order that my family were nourished in their Catholic faith.

“This wasn’t the case for me though. I was educated on the south coast of England, by first the Sisters of Mercy during my primary school years and then by the De La Salle Brothers in my secondary school years.

“It was through these religious orders, through these holy men and women, that I first got a glimpse into the heavenly…I was able to see in a new way what loving sacrifice is…their sacrificial commitment to their vocation.

“I know God’s hand has been at work throughout my life, but I have to acknowledge this great sacrificial love these religious orders and brother priests have freely given me and who have been so generous and patient with me over the years.”

Fr Thomson gave special thanks to the late Archbishop Philip Wilson “for having the wisdom” to send him to the seminary in Boston, as well as Archbishop O’Regan for ordaining him and the “fatherly love and support you’ve offered me over the past few years”.

“And now my life as a priest begins,” he added.

“I ask you all today to please keep me in your prayers as I begin my ministry, that I will be given the strength to build upon all the good work done before me.”

Fr Thomson has been appointed assistant priest at the Salisbury parish, commencing on June 11.

Fr Thomson at the altar with Fr Dean Marin.

Fr Thomson being congratulated by fellow priests following his ordination.


More Local stories

Loading next article