Fr. Charles Holden promises obedience.
Fr. Charles Holden promises obedience.

Eight men were ordained priests by Archbishop Alexander Sample Saturday, at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Those ordained were Frs. Mark Bentz, Paolo Dayto, Aniceto Guiriba, James Herrera, Peter Nhat Hoang, Charles Holden, John Marshall and Chrispine Otieno.

Friends, family, classmates and members of the priests’ Catholic communities packed the Cathedral, spilling out doors and lining the walls, crowded, but orderly.

The eight men were called by name to stand before the archbishop; then it was announced that they were chosen for the priesthood.

The enormous crowd launched into applause as the eight men turned to face the pews.

“I think they want you to become priests,” the archbishop said, to another round of applause.

“Today you become priests forever,” Archbishop Sample said. “Something very profound and very real changes in you today.”

Focus on the priestly vocation must shift from what the priest does, to who the priest is, the archbishop said. If not, we risk the ministry becoming just another career path, where “sometimes you’re on duty and sometimes you’re off duty.”

“The good shepherd lays down his life to protect the flock and is willing to give it all to the flock,” he said.

Pope Francis provides a good reminder of the spirit in which priests should minister: kind, loving, humble, and strong, but gentle.

“It is not about you. It’s about the Lord Jesus Christ and the people you are called to serve,” the archbishop said.

As part of the rite, dozens of priests in attendance walked past the kneeling new clergymen and blessed them. Elder priests helped the new priests don chasubles, the vestment of their role as celebrants of the Eucharist.

The archbishop anointed the hands of each man, and handed each the bread and wine, which they will now be able to transform into the real presence of Jesus.

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