Monday, June 23, 2008


The final days leading up to ordination were frantic. More recently the diocese has taken steps to control the celebrations for ordination as they were becoming quite over the top events, mine being no exception despite my “Catholic Etiquette” book which stated that a reception should be in the home and avoid all resemblance to a wedding feast. Monsignor Manners would have been appalled.

The Tuesday before ordination weekend was my last final exam: Social Justice. That being done there was a focus on getting ready for ordination. A handful of seminarians and my MC traveled that evening to my hometown to practice the First Mass of Thanksgiving. It was customary to take the gentlemen of your rehearsal out to eat and so we had a traditional Barberton meal. B-town being the chicken dinner capital of the world, we grabbed chicken dinners and took them out to the Winery at Wolf Creek.

After visiting the parish to which I was assigned I found that my rooms were in need of furniture and the pastor sent me out shopping with the instructions, “Don’t spend too much money but don’t be cheap,” but who also refused to even give a ballpark number. Talk about nervousness.

The student & faculty cook out was the next day. The seminary has a number of courtyards owing to the rambling nature of the building. The Saint Mary courtyard (so named because it has a statue of Saint Mary in it) was the usual site for cookouts. One of the faculty usually manned the grills while the rest gabbed over refreshments or tossed a Frisbee or what have you.

The next day was graduation. All of our families came up for the event held in the south nave of the chapel. We donned our caps and gowns and marched in under the seminary banners. I was honored to give the commencement speech on behalf of the class. For weeks I did sweat about what would be said and finally it was do or die time. The speech was given and my first indication that it was all right came after the ceremony when one of the priests I particularly respected and who was not quick to give compliments shook my hand and said, “Well done.”

We probably should have all gone to bed at that point, but we were too wired and four of us stayed up late into the night playing cards until we could not see straight. That made Friday a terribly long day. It was the day before ordination and so there were many last minute things that needed attending. The drive to my hometown was a long one but the drive had to be taken to settle things at the church and halls and make sure family was taken care of. From there tracks were made to the cathedral for the ordination mass rehearsal. By the time that was finished it was quite late in the day and I returned to the seminary tired and famished from not having eaten all day. But don’t you know, a fellow seminarian knew of my plight and had wine, fruit, and cheeses sent up to my room. I am touched by that to this very day.

The next day was to be ordination itself. You might think that might cause a man to not be able to sleep and maybe that is true in cases. But at this point tiredness was like a heavy wet blanket that knocked me out completely until the alarm went off on ordination day.


Anonymous said...

Seriously, you should make all this into a book. It'll come in handy for a wide age-range who need an extra oomph in discerning, and it'll come as happy reminder/solace to others. It would make a great graduation gift. You should interview your family about all these days, too, for some chapters. (I'd buy it simply because it's a holy and hilarious peek into a life of mystery--and if you tweak that statement a bit, there's a blurb for the back cover right there.)


Anonymous said...

I agree! This would make a great book.

Hope your first day at the new parish is going well!

Anonymous said... and cheese and fruit! And chicken dinners!

(I'm hungry...sorry.)