The 2023 John Wallis Memorial Lecture featured keynote speaker Rev. Dr Jake Mudge, who addressed the topic, You are a Chosen Race, a Royal Priesthood: living fully our shared baptismal calling. Fr Jake, a priest of the Bendigo Diocese, is a staff member at Corpus Christi Seminary and lectures at Catholic Theological College (University of Divinity), Melbourne.
The central message of the lecture was two-fold:
- that the Second Vatican Council beautifully highlighted the profound call to enter into friendship with the living God – a God who meets us intimately and personally in our daily lives. As St Paul reminds us, “the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us” (Romans 5: 5); and
- as asked by the Dominican preacher Timothy Radcliff, how might we “take the plunge” into our shared baptismal calling as heralds and prophets of the good news? In an ever-changing – yet exciting – world, there is always a risk with the mission of the Gospel, yet we always take the plunge.
Fr Jake spoke about the challenge seminary teachers face, as they are only too aware that the synodal church of Pope Francis will demand new and radical attitudes and skill sets from future priests. He spoke feelingly about the pitfalls of power relationships, stressing that the only truly authentic priest/laity interface must be vulnerability meeting vulnerability. This was a searing idea for many hearing this for the first time.
Forty-five people were in the room, and an estimated 150 + people heard the lecture through living streaming (we know of individuals and groups in other parts of Tasmania and at several interstate locations).
The annual lecture, which brings together a diverse gathering of the local Catholic community, celebrates and honours Fr John Wallis, the Missionary Sisters of Service, and Highways and Byways. It was held at Guilford Young College, Glenorchy Campus, on the afternoon of Saturday, 21 October.
To watch the lecture, click here.