WelCom December 2023
Seminarian Matthew White was ordained a deacon by Archbishop Paul Martin sm on Sunday 12 November at St Teresa’s Pro-Cathedral, Karori.
Members of Matthew’s family, friends, clergy and several parishioners from his home parish Te Ngākau Tapu in Porirua and from Ōtari parish in Wellington were all there to support him.
Responding to a karanga Matthew was processed into the church with supporting clergy for his ordination to begin.
The ordination was Archbishop Paul’s first in the Archdiocese of Wellington.
Archbishop Paul said in his homily, ‘On this day we reflect on what it is Matthew is taking on when he is ordained to this order in the Church. For while we know he will in the future go on to be ordained priest, the order of deacon has a fundamental nature that will sit with him for the rest of his life, and hopefully shape how he will think and act.’
Referring to the Gospel reading, Archbishop Paul said, ‘In taking on this ministry, Matthew is being asked to be prepared for whatever the Lord has in store for him, to be alert, and to help others to be alert as well. Because the deacon is here to help others in all their needs, not just to care for himself.
‘The deacon’s fundamental role is to be a person of service, in the sacramental and communal life of the Church. He is called to use his gifts for the service of the Gospel. The role of the deacon has also had a clear expectation of caring for the temporal needs of the people, not to just stay in the sanctuary, but be immersed in the real human needs of the community. It is a calling that creates a heart for others, to see where the need is and to do all that is possible to ensure those needs are met.’
At the end of Mass, Matthew thanked everyone who had done so much to prepare for the ordination Mass, including MC Fr Patrick Bridgman, Whaea Katarina, Whaea Rangi, the music team, Mons Charles Cooper for his support and mentoring role and Fr Brendan Ward formerly of Holy Cross Seminary.
‘To Archbishop Paul, thank you for ordaining me today. I’m delighted to be your first ordination here in the Archdiocese of Wellington. I pray I am the first of many more to come.
‘To the clergy who have come to support me, thank you. To Fr Ron Bennett and Tikoua and to all of you in the Otari parish who have been so kind and supportive, especially our morning Mass whaanau thank you. To those who have come from my home parish Te Ngakau Tapu in Porirua, Tena koutou.’
Matthew also acknowledged the readers, altar servers, those who set up for Mass and the Filipino group for preparing refreshments, to which he invited everyone to share after Mass.
Matthew grew up in Whanganui where he attended St Joseph’s primary school, Marist Intermediate and St Augustine’s College. Matthew says he was brought up with a belief in God and his love for him. ‘My Dad was a strong Catholic so the family would always attend Sunday Mass. As I got older, I wanted to know more about my faith, so I started to attend Church study groups and retreats. I became a youth group leader so I could help young people learn about the good news of God’s love for us.’
Matthew went to Massey University in Palmerston North and completed a degree in Te Reo Māori. He spent a year at Teachers’ College and was appointed to his first teaching job at Tawa College in Wellington.
After some years teaching, Matthew felt God calling him to be a priest and serve his people. He says many people – priests, parishioners, family – helped him in his discernment and encouraged him to the priesthood. ‘God has called me to serve and to give His love to His people.’