Monday, May 18, 2009


Ahhhh. Is there anything like ordination weekend? And this one was a wild at least for me. What are the odds that I would be named administrator of a parish that would be assigned a newly ordained parochial vicar at the same time that my cousin would be ordained a priest, who grew up at the parish at which I am administrator and where he was having his reception? With those kind of odds I think I would have rather won the lottery to pay for new parking lots and pew repairs. And to boot, they all broke Monsignor Manners Rule Number One: Please do not have all of your receptions and Masses at the exact same time. Which of course they did.

I believe I reported about ordination last year so I won’t go into too much detail except for two notable events. You know, priests sitting in their seats at Mass can tend to do exactly what drives them nuts from the congregation when they are presiding. (whisper*comment*whisper) But there was a hardy laugh from the first reading chosen by those being ordained. From Numbers, “He asked the LORD, "Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, 'Give us meat to eat!' 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin." Of course it goes on to become quite fitting but the mumblings back and forth at this portion were hysterical.

The other interesting change was that there was no sung closing hymn, it was all instrumental and that changed the entire dynamic of the recessional. Instead of being glued to books or programs the people were able to pay attention to what was going on. The entire time the many priests were filing out there was applause like a gentle rain. As we rounded the corner of the back of cathedral the newly ordained were leaving the sanctuary and the applause broke out into fever pitch and cheers! Even having gone through this ceremony as a priest for 11 years and as a seminarian for some years before that, I still got chills.

Because they all had their Masses of Thanksgiving at the same time and in the morning on Sunday my choice of attending one was rather limited. With the Masses I had to do at St. Sebastian the only hope I had of going was to Fr. Trenta’s. I must say I was proud of my cousin. He did right by the rite – fine and noble job. The most touching part came as he was surrounded by the priests in attendance and he began the Institution Narrative. Tears welled up in his eyes and his voice became just slightly shaky as he consecrated the Eucharist. Can you imagine how emotional that is – for a Catholic who believes this is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of His God? “On the night He was betrayed, He took bread in His sacred hands and looking up to heaven to You, His Almighty Father, He gave you thanks and praise. He took the bread, gave it to His disciples and said, ‘Take this all of you and eat it. This is my Body which will be given up for you.”

There was a pause as the new father mustered his inner strength and began again. “When supper was ended . . .” What a thing to ponder! How accustomed we grow to these magnificent words and mystical deeds! That we would all pray them with lumps in our throats always! Be damned the upcoming soccer game, the grocery list, the yard work, the breakfast buffet you hope to catch.

This is God.


Anonymous said...

APPLAUSE APPLAUSE APPLAUSE for all of our newly ordained priests, for you, Fr. V., and for all of your brother priests. You bring us Jesus. And in honor of the soon-to-be Year of the Priesthood:

Almighty God give us priests:
To establish the honor of Thy Name;
To offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar;
To give us Jesus in the Holy Sacrament;
To proclaim the faith taught by Jesus;
To baptize and teach the young;
To tend Thy sheep; To seek the lost;
To give pardon to the penitent sinner;
To bless our homes;
To pray for the afflicted;
To comfort mourners;
To strengthen us in our last hour;
To commend our souls.
Almighty God, give us priests.


[Cure of Ars 1786-1859]

Father Schnippel said...

Do you remember your first run through, for real? Enough with the practice, uttering those words when it counts for the first time, chills.

Be nice to the newly ordained, remember all the mistakes you made and help him steer his way through those rough first years.

Adoro said...

Just READING this brings tears to my eyes!

Pat said...

Fr. Trenta has found the "pearl of great price." Let us give thanks to the Lord for the priests that are now coming forward to serve us.