Jesuit To Be Ordained In Auckland

Press Release – Jesuit Communications Australia

Jesuit To Be Ordained In Auckland

On Saturday, 6 August, the Feast of the Transfiguration, Bishop Patrick Dunn will ordain Deacon Justin Glyn SJ a priest at the Cathedral of St Patrick and St Joseph, Auckland, in a ceremony commencing at 11.30am.

The following day, at 9.30am, he will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady Star of the Sea, Howick, where his parents live and where he sang in the choir for ten years.

Born in Windhoek, Namibia, Justin grew up in South Africa, where he lived in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. He comes from a family with a very diverse range of faith expressions, from devout Catholic to equally devout Anglican (an aunt is an Anglican priest) to agnostic and atheist.

Growing up in a society where racial discrimination was built into the law, and experiencing discrimination himself as a result of his blindness, made Justin sensitive to the needs of people who are marginalised for whatever reason. They also gave him an awareness of the moral choices that lie behind the laws organising society.

It is therefore no surprise that he felt called to two possible vocations when he left school – law and the priesthood. An older priest advised him to come back to religious life when he had a bit more experience of the world.

Justin practised law in South Africa. He also discovered choral music and has sung in choirs for most of his life, including at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically elected president.

After his family moved to New Zealand in 1998, Justin practised as a barrister and then worked at large and small firms in Auckland. There he also did a doctorate in law (focusing on international law and the rights of refugees) under a famous New Zealand legal academic, the late Professor Michael Taggart.

After having worked as a lawyer for about 9 years, Justin felt drawn to reopen the question of the priesthood. Jesuit spirituality, with its understanding that God is in all things, drew him very strongly, so he explored the closest branch of the Jesuits that he could find (Australia). There he felt right at home and joined in 2009.

As a novice, especially in the 30-day silent retreat doing St Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, Justin came to discover a much more personal and less intellectual relationship with God, while still keeping his strong interests in the law and in the needs of the most marginalised.

After finishing the novitiate, he studied theology and philosophy in Melbourne, then did a year of pastoral work with asylum seekers through Jesuit Refugee Service in Sydney.

He also honed his writing skills, publishing regularly in Eureka Street, the Australian Jesuits’ online magazine devoted to reflecting on Church, justice and social issues.

As a deacon, Justin has been assisting in two Melbourne parishes, gaining experience preaching, preparing people for sacraments, doing baptisms, leading prayer services, attending meetings of the parish council, serving as deacon at Masses for various community groups, including old age and rest homes. He has found the parish priests to be wonderful mentors, giving him a very good grounding in the myriad things that make up the life and work of a parish priest. Though very busy, he found that the work energised rather than drained him.

Justin’s most challenging work, however, has been with refugees and asylum seekers, whom he has been visiting in an Immigration Detention Centre in Melbourne. It is there – in a place where all he can do is accompany people who are at their wits’ end and still living a nightmare – that the shadow of the Cross has been most apparent.

After a couple of weeks of priestly ministry in Howick, Justin will move to Ottawa, where he will do a Licentiate in Canon Law at the University of St Paul.


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