Mass of Priestly Ordination of Deacon Jake Mullin

13 June 2024

Appears in: Messages and Homilies

Mass of Priestly Ordination of Deacon Jake Mullin


[Numbers 11:11b-12, 14-17, 24-25a; Psalm 84; 1Peter 5:1-4; John 21:15-17]

Tonight, the Archdiocese of Edmonton gathers in a spirit of profound thanksgiving and great joy. We rejoice in the gift of a new priest, who will lead and serve the people of God in this local Church. As we witness a man raised to the order of presbyters, we recognize in this act the fidelity of our Lord. Moved by his promise that his people will be led by shepherds after his own heart, the Lord Jesus takes the initiative and calls a man to follow him as a priest. Many here this evening have suspected for quite some time that Deacon Jake Mullin has had a priestly vocation. Tonight, they rejoice, as do we all, to see that intuition confirmed by the Church. We are grateful to you, Jake, that having heard the call of Jesus deep within your heart, you are responding in faith and the gift of your entire life.

At the outset of this homily, I wish also to thank Jake’s family, especially his parents, Shane and Keri. You have accompanied Jake’s vocational discernment with encouragement, understanding, and love. Vocations arise naturally and spontaneously from households filled with Christian faith, and we are all grateful to you, the members of Jake’s family, for helping him arrive at this wondrous moment.

It has escaped no one, I am sure, that this ordination mass is occurring simultaneously with another event just a few blocks away at Rogers Place. On one hand, the People of God, assembled here in this Basilica, are seized with the enormous significance of the priesthood – and hence the gift of a new priest – for the life of the Church and world. On the other, the many people gathered either in the Ice District or in front of television screens have their concentration focused entirely elsewhere, likely not even aware of what is unfolding within these sacred walls. I say this not to diminish in any way the importance of this ordination, but on the contrary to underscore its necessity. The simultaneity of the two events is emblematic of the situation faced by every priest today – preaching the Gospel to an inattentive and indifferent society – and hence also of the need the world has of the ministry to which he is called by the Lord.

The priest is summoned by Christ to announce the Gospel in Word and sacrament.  He directs his ministry first to the household of faith, the Church, which is both shaped and sustained by fidelity to the Word he proclaims. At the same time, because the evangelical mandate is universal, the ministry and witness of the priest will inevitably engage broader society, which in our present day is moulded by a mindset radically different from, and even opposed to, the mind of Christ. False idolization of the Self and ideological colonization of the mind are so captivating the attention of our contemporaries, wherever they gather, that the Gospel, the Church, and even Jesus Christ do not enter the ambit of their awareness.

From this circumstance arises the urgent necessity of priestly ministry. Our world needs Jesus Christ, who alone is its light and salvation. The Church can never tire of proclaiming him, especially when her announcement is met with incomprehension, indifference, or hostility. This should not deter but spur us on to greater effort. As the one ordained to act in persona Christi capitis and in the name of the Church, the priest shepherds his people as they witness to Christ, the world’s only sure hope, and seek to break through societal inattention to the Lord so that people will turn to him, encounter him, and find in him the answer to the mystery of human existence.

Jake, precisely as a priest, you must strive to support and sustain that which, more than anything else in our day, can divert the attention of our world back to Jesus Christ. What I refer to here is the witness of ecclesial communion. When the Church is united, she stands forth as a beacon of light in a world marred and darkened by polarization and division. This light draws others to Jesus by pointing to him as its source. So, Jake, by the exercise of your three-fold office of preaching, sanctification and governance, you are to keep united in the love and joy of Christ the people entrusted to your priestly care. This is how you are called, as St. Peter puts it, to “tend the flock of God that is in your charge” (1Peter 5:2).

Of course, you do not do this alone. Jesus, who has called you, works with and in you by the power of his mighty love. In fact, as he himself makes clear in tonight’s Gospel text, it is only if you live in a communion of love with him that you will be enabled to feed the Lord’s flock. Count, too, on the support and collaboration of your brother priests in the presbyterate of this Archdiocese. As foreshadowed by the choice of elders to work with Moses, you are ordained as a co-worker of the Bishop, together with your fellow presbyters. Allow the sacramental bond forged by ordination to intensify communion with your colleagues, so that we, in turn, can strengthen the unity of God’s People and, with them, re-direct the attention of our world away from futility and despair toward the meaning and hope found uniquely in Jesus Christ.

Jake, you are surrounded tonight by a community of believers ready to support your ministry, and a communion of priests eager to welcome you among our number. Be assured of the love and prayers of us all, as you now step forward to make your sacred promises before God in the presence of His Church.

Most Reverend Richard W. Smith

Saint Joseph Basilica

June 13th, 2024