Ordination of John Enslin SJ

Fr John Enslin SJ with Archbishop Buti Tlhagale OMI after his ordination. John and the Archbishop are surrounded by his family.

On Saturday 13th August Archbishop Buti Tlhagale OMI of Johannesburg ordained John Enslin SJ to the priesthood at Holy Trinity in Braamfontein. John initially began studying for ministry in the Dutch Reformed Church as he comes from a staunch Dutch Reformed Family. After he converted to Catholicism he taught Philosophy at the University of South Africa and St Peter’s Seminary in Pretoria. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1996 and, after completing his noviciate in South Africa, studied at Boston College in the USA and completed his theological studies at Heythrop College in London in 2010. After he was ordained a deacon he spent a year working at St Ignatius Parish in Stamford Hill before returning to South Africa for his priestly ordination.

John’s father, his brother and sister as well as their spouses and children were present at the ordination. John’s uncle, himself a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, was present to support John on this special day. Other close friends, including ministers in the Dutch Reformed Church and a Greek Orthodox Priest, also attended. A number of languages were used in the ordination liturgy including Afrikaans (John’s mother tongue), English and Sotho.

In his homily Archbishop Tlhagale said anyone willing to make a lifelong commitment in our society which does not value commitment – whether as a priest, religious or married person – was “heroic”. He said that there was a time when the priesthood was valued and when priests were really seen as intermediaries between God and his people. This is, he said, no longer the case in a society which has become increasingly secularist. He said that some priests have brought a further “loss and caused damage” to the image of the priesthood because of their failure to live holy lives. The Archbishop reminded everyone present that all

God’s people are called to holiness of life in their own specific vocations: “Holiness is the fundamental calling of all Christians whether we are priests, religious or married”.

John celebrated his Mass of Thanksgiving at Holy Trinity the following morning. He was assisted by the Regional Superior of the Jesuits in South Africa, Fr David Smolira SJ. In his homily, reflecting on the Canaanite Woman, he reminded those present of the need to be persistent in prayer and faith as God is always present to and wanting to dialogue with us.

John Enslin is the sixth Jesuit to be ordained priest by Archbishop Tlhagale in as many years for the South African Region of the Society of Jesus. John will return to Boston College in the USA for some months to complete his doctoral dissertation before being appointed to a ministry in South Africa.

Parish Deacon, Billy Davies with Leonie Ogle (who signs at mass) and Jean-Paul Deltour a Deaf Parishioner.

Why are you weeping? A booklet of reflections on grief written by Frs Sean Wales CssR, Larry Kaufmann CssR and Russell Pollitt SJ is now avaliable in a kindle edition from Amazon. Hard copies can be bought from Redemptorist Pastoral Publications or from Holy Trinity.

Ordination to the Priesthood: John Enslin SJ will be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday 13 August 2011 at 11h00 at Holy Trinity by Archbishop Buti Tlhgale OMI of Johannesburg. All are welcome, please come and join us celebrate John’s ordination as well as pray for more priests. Fr John will celebrate his mass of thanksgiving at Trinity on Sunday 14 August at 09h30.

Reaching out to the Deaf: In the last two months Trinity has been trying to reach out to deaf people who attend Sunday mass. The homily at the 09h30 mass and the prayers of the faithful are now translated simultanously into sign language by a 3rd year drama student at WITS University who is also a resident at the Catholic Chaplaincy, Trinity House, in Braamfontein. If you know of any deaf person who feels excluded on Sundays and would like to attend this mass please tell them about it – all are welcome!