The Province of Australia Receives First Diocesan Priest into the Fraternity

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The Province of Australia Receives First Diocesan Priest into the Fraternity
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On the feast of St. Patrick, 17 March 2015, the Dominican Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Australia received into the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic Fr. Ron Peters, dean and administrator of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Wollongong, Australia. He was likewise presented with the Dominican cross by the Prior Provincial, Fr. Kevin Saunders, who presided over the rite during Morning Prayer, in the presence of members of the local Dominican Priory of St. James in Glebe, Sydney, NSW. Friars from this community also serve St. Bede's Church at Pyrmont, the chaplaincy at the University of Sydney, and the chaplaincy at Notre Dame University, Broadway campus.

Fr. Ron was born on 27 August 1958, and was ordained as a priest of the Diocese of Wollongong on 4 June 2005. Below is a brief testimony from Fr. Ron:

My parents migrated to Australia from the Netherlands in 1954 and they landed at the Dominican Sisters' Convent, Prouille, Wahroonga, where they were caretakers for a few years. There they started their new family. Three boys were born to them at Wahroonga: Ronald, the youngest, was baptised “Dominic” in the Holy Name Church in 1958.

My family returned to the Netherlands where I began my schooling. However, the cold climate of Holland brought us back to Australia a few years later.

I was educated by the Mercy Sisters and Patrician Brothers in Blacktown, western Sydney. In February 1979 I was professed into the Patrician Brothers. I served in a number of schools run by the Order and also served some time as Director of Formation as well as working in the Catholic Education Office of Sydney as an adviser in Religious Education for secondary schools. In these apostolates I met a number of Dominican women who kept me yearning for a deeper relationship with the Dominican Family.

During my mother’s protracted terminal illness, my mother and I sought the intercession of her patron, Saint Catherine of Siena. Nursing her in the family home, we received many graces and blessings: strength for the journey.

After considerable discernment, I decided to apply to the Bishop of Wollongong for admission into the formation program for ordination. I spent some time at the Beda College in Rome, as well as the Good Shepherd Seminary in Sydney. I was ordained by Bishop Peter Ingham on 4th June 2005 in the Cathedral of Saint Francis Xavier.

In August 2006 I was appointed Dean of the Cathedral and Administrator of the Wollongong and Gwynneville Parishes. In 2010 I was made the Administrator of the Lumen Christi Parishes, Wollongong, incorporating the parishes of the Cathedral in Wollongong, Saint John Vianney in Fairy Meadow, Mater Dolorosa in Balgownie, and Saint Brigid in Gwynneville.

I serve on the Diocesan Council of Priests. I am the Chair of the Diocesan Catholic Schools Council. I am chaplain to the Dutch community living in the Wollongong Diocese. I have a particular interest in Prison Ministry, having served at the Berrima Women's Correctional Facility for four years. I continue to visit prisoners in a more limited capacity.

I believe that I have had a call to the Dominican way of life for many years. As a priest I have come to appreciate the charism of preaching, and seek nurturance for this ministry by membership in the Dominican Priestly Fraternity. I continue to seek the presence of Jesus in the various responsibilities of my priesthood and desire to proclaim the Good News in the spirit of Dominic. I seek the life of prayer, study and contemplation in my journey of loving, serving and giving.

It was ironic that the Rite of Reception should occur on the Feast of Saint Patrick. I had spent twenty-five years in the teaching Order of the Brothers of Saint Patrick (Patrician Brothers). Now, my spiritual and apostolic journey reached another milestone as I deepen my commitment to continue to teach the Good News in the spirit of another great pastor and our Patriarch, Saint Dominic.

I pray that more priests in Australia will discover the rich spiritual heritage of the Dominican Family and seek membership of the Dominican Priestly Fraternity.

 

(20 March 2015)