Fr Daniel's first Mass Sunday 7th July

Sunday the 7th of July marked an historic day for the parish. Newly ordained priest Fr Daniel McCaughan celebrated his first mass at St. Peter's, drawing a congregation of over 500 strong to witness this monumental occasion for Fr Daniel and the Catholic Church.

The mass was celebrated at the traditional 10.30am time, however this was about the only normal aspect of the day. The usual accompaniment of four altar servers was doubled to include a host of seminarians who came to participate in the transformational ceremony of one of their own; the regular choir was expanded to include professionally trained sopranos Jennifer Bonner and Sarah Ampil, as well as a number of other high quality singers to add to the grandeur of the occasion, glorifying God.

Furthermore, for the first time in the parish's history, a string quartet and harp were introduced to accompany the usual organ, under the direction of Choirmaster and musical juggernaut Eugene Raggio. The string quartet included Christopher Pidcock, a cellist in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and close friend of Fr Daniel. The music comprised of a variety of pieces old and new, such as the 'Cantique de Jean Racine' by Gabriel Fauré; Maurice Durufle's 'Ubi Caritas'; 'If Ye Love Me' by Thomas Tallis and six-part piece 'Beati Quorum Via' by Charles Villiers Stanford. On top of this, a new mass setting written by C.H Kitson was also featured, which will be used for special occasions at the parish such as solemnities and feasts.

The Mass itself was con-celebrated by a number of priests, including parish priest Fr Bill Milsted and several close friends of Fr Daniel. Some of these travelled from extremely long distances such as Fr Michael Gallacher, who made the journey back to his native Australia for the ordination all the way from Rome, where he studied with Fr Daniel for the previous four years.

The mass was followed by a reception in the parish grounds, put together by parishioner and catering guru Lexie Walker, who put on a sizeable feast for the guests gathered there to celebrate Fr Daniel's coming into the priesthood. Speeches were made by his father, James McCaughan, his brother John (the immediate sibling of 10 in total) and the aforementioned Fr Michael Gallacher, his closest friend. All expressed the qualities of character possessed by Fr Daniel, for which he expressed great thanks and were warmly received by the tightly packed audience.

Fr Daniel had been a priest for less than a day, and already had given out hundreds of first blessings, owing to the throngs of people that queued to receive them from him following his ordination and first mass.
His first words as a priest were, "when one is ordained a priest, one often finds oneself quite short of words." However, he expressed his immense gratitude for all those involved in his formational journey to the priesthood, and challenged himself, his fellow newly ordinands and indeed all of us to "Dare to love," with specific reference to Christ's love for the Church.

Fr Daniel now travels to World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro as the newest or 'baby' priest before returning to Rome to complete his studies; beginning his life in serving others as Christ first served.

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