Monday, May 17, 2010


It was quite a weekend! Weddings, baptisms, ordination, first communions, regular Masses, confessions, and an anointing thrown in for good measure. It seemed that for most of the weekend the parochial vicar and I ran from one event to the next.

Being ordination season many priests are celebrating their anniversaries. Our elder pastor emeritus just celebrated his 60th anniversary! At the other end of the scale the parochial vicar is marking the end of year number one (after which he will finally be able to take a couple of vacation days.) Some time around now I am celebrating 12 years. I say “some time” because I never remember the exact date (that would not have been so great for marriage) but do remember that the Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated on Pentecost which is next week.

There were two men ordained for the Diocese of Cleveland this year. The grand procession of servers, permanent and transitional deacons, priests, and bishops lined up on Superior Avenue alongside the cathedral to prepare for the opening procession. As the cathedral bells started ringing we wound our way to East 9th Street to the front of the cathedral. We passed the usual protesters though they continue to shrink in number while increasing in age. Four people held up signs begging for a married priesthood and five persons held a sign that I’ve seen for the past 18 years that reads, “Women are priestly people too.” I wonder if they would be as accommodating if we held a protest outside the church of their children’s weddings. Well – I suppose at least they care enough to be there right?

We walked up the steps in the bright sun and enter the cool, dark interior of the cathedral (through the new doors that my cousin helped create) and the bells were drowned out by the singing, organ, and other instruments. The place is packed to the gills – a good sign being that only two men were ordained. As we reached the altar we bow two by two, turn, and head toward Mary’s chapel where the priests are seated.

The actual ordination takes place around the homily time. After the bishop lays on hands each of the priests are invited to come forward and lay on hands. The newly ordained kneel on the marble steps and we file past and place our hands on their heads in an ancient gesture and prayer.

It struck me after how this was just the beginning of so much ministry these men would do. How many people would be baptized at their hands? How many families started through their witnessing of Catholic marriage? How many soothed through anointing? How many forgiven in confession? How many receive counseling? How many thousands receive communion?

Then following the ceremony I jumped in the car to race back to Akron. (Well – sort of. I ALWAYS think, “If I hurry and run to my car maybe I can get out of the parking deck quickly.” A sure sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I sat still in the deck for a half an hour. But I digress.) I got back just in time to perform a wedding. The begging of a new life for two people and thought how the world is going to be different because these two people vowed to love. They will have children most likely because of this union, and children will have children, and etc. . . and the world will be as it is partly because of this simple ceremony today.

The next day was First Communion. As Fr. P. pointed out this should be the first of thousands of Communions for these young folks. It is the next step in their life in the Church. Some day they will be bringing their children to baptism, First Communion and presenting their sons and daughters for marriage (or other vocations.)

It was a tiring weekend but one full of so much hope and life. It was the Church ALIVE! It is Christ still active in the world. Praised be God!


Matt W said...

"...though they continue to shrink in number while increasing in age..."

Anonymous said...

I am losing patience with protesters . . . . . especially those that come from other places . . . like Boston . . . .and demand that Bishop Lennon reveal the names of priests who may have done wrong.

Anonymous said...

Fr V, this is Russ from Hudson (saw you in the stair well after ordination saturday) your ordination date is: 05-30-1998. This and more are available on the Clergy and Religious Secretariat's website: in the directory. Lots of fun stuff in there. The directory is still being updated, but the new features are pretty cool. Have fun!