Christ Church Cathedral was filled with people there to witness the ordination to the priesthood of Nicholas Saulnier, on April 30. Archbishop David Edwards presided, with assistance from Dean Geoffrey Hall and Bishop Nigel Shaw.
Nicholas was ordained a deacon at his home church of St. George’s, Moncton a year ago, and many from St. George’s made the trip to Fredericton. He has spent the past year under the tutelage of the Rev. Canon Kevin Stockall, serving in the Parishes of St. Mary, York; Marysville; and Stanley.
Nicholas is on an unusual career path. His aim is to become a military chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces. Before earning a Masters degree in divinity at Wycliffe College in Toronto, he was a captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force, working as an air battle manager stationed in Rome, New York, as part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
The chaplaincy requirements included ordination, followed by two years spent in the diocese under the bishop’s direction. Nicholas has one year left here before he returns to the Armed Forces as a chaplain.
There were two guests of note at the ordination service: The Rt. Rev. Nigel Shaw, Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Armed Forces; and the Rt. Rev. Stephen Andrews, principal of Wycliffe College.
Bishop Stephen preached at the service, noting Nicholas was a “one-person altar guild” during his time at Wycliffe, faithfully carrying out chores far beyond those expected.
He spoke of Jesus’s call to a life of sacrificial service, which applies to every believer.
“Every Christian is commissioned to declare the works of God,” he said. “We must work out how to do that in our lives.”
He noted that some church welcome signs give the service times, and under ‘minister,’ the sign says ‘the congregation.’
While all are called to do something, there are others admitted to a different priesthood, after years of study, training and an extra measure of grace to meet needs.
“Individuals are made priests because somewhere along the line, there was discernment — people saw evidence of leadership and the commitment of faith,” he said. “Your calling is reaffirmed by us here at this service.”
But Nicholas won’t become a priest just because others have recognized his calling, he said.
“He’ll become a priest when the bishop puts his hands on him.”
Bishop Stephen then outlined the advent of the priesthood, when in the early Christian era, bishops could not get everywhere to do everything, so they established elders of the church to be priests, to share in the bishop’s own ministry.
“Ordained ministry is not merely being a servant of the Church, but a servant of Christ,” he said. “Nicholas, you will experience frustration, your strength will be spent and your heart broken. These are the inevitable wounds of love. May God bless you.”
During the service, the Rev. Rob Langmaid acted as chaplain to Bishop Nigel. The Rev. Debbie Edmondson was the liturgical deacon. Tyler McKenna, Samuel Landry and Matthew Way were the servers.
The Rev. Canon Chris VanBuskirk was the litanist, and with Kevin Stockall, vested Nicholas. Maxine Fullerton read the first lesson, and Harold Staples read the epistle. Presenters were the Ven. Paul Ranson, Kevin Stockall and Carole-Ann McGee.
After the service, a reception was held at Cathedral Memorial Hall. Members of All Saints, St. Mary, York and St. Thomas prepared the refreshments.
1. From left: The Rev. Debbie Edmondson, Dean Geoffrey Hall, Archbishop David Edwards, the Rev. Canon Leo Martin, the Rev. Nicholas Saulnier, the Rev. Rob Langmaid, Bishop Ordinary Nigel Shaw (of the Canadian Armed Forces), Bishop Stephen Andrews, principal of Wycliffe College.
2. Bishop Stephen Andrews was the preacher at the ordination service.
3. Nicholas Saulnier lies prostrate during the prayers.
4. The procession at the end of the service, with the Rev. Nicholas Saulnier wearing priestly robes.