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Dear Matthew,

On Thursday I signed your “Letters Testimonial” attesting to my confidence in your suitability to be ordained to the priesthood. A month from today you will be a priest.

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Death in Rome is a small, challenging, and disturbing novel by German novelist Wolfgang Koeppen published in 1954.

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The conversation took place many years ago.

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There are days when it is hard to sustain a vision I can live with in this strange calling of priesthood.

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I am a priest.

In my role as a priest I perform a sometimes bewildering array of functions. I lead public worship. I accompany people in rites of passage. I share leadership in a community of faith. I preach, teach and give spiritual support to people in a variety of life circumstances. I pray with people “in good times and in bad.”

But there is one thing I do as a priest that for me more than any other captures the essence of priesthood and connects the varied tasks I perform.

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Thirty years ago yesterday I was ordained a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada. It was an unforgettable and dramatic event for everyone involved.
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You have set my feet in a spacious place ~ Psalm 31:8

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