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worthiness declared

June 8, 2011

The Diocese of Grand Rapids ordained three men on Saturday – one priest and two transitional deacons – and I was there to see it.  Yes, reader.  I traveled home over the weekend and attended the ordination mass at St. Andrew’s Cathedral.  Rosario and I arrived in time to see the priests all lined up outside the cathedral waiting to process in, and we started pointing out familiar faces: “Oh look!  There’s Fr. Jim!  And Fr. Matt.  And Fr. Ayub.  And Fr. Aaron.  And Fr. Den.  And Fr. Ron.  And Fr. Tony.  And Fr. Mike….” and so on and so on.  Our diocese is blessed with some amazing priests and it was thrilling to see them gathered together.

I’ve become quite familiar with the Rite of Ordination, having attended quite a few, especially after my brother became a seminarian.  In summer’s past, as with this summer, the ordination mass was often my only opportunity to see him, and it is a good way to show support for the priestly vocation.  Plus, I love a good Catholic sacramental celebration. 

Rosario and I watched from our pew as the candidates were individually presented to the bishop.  First Deacon Luis for the priesthood; then Michael for transitional deacon and finally Darrel also for transitional deacon.  Fr. Ron declared that each had been found worthy of ordination.  My soul erupted with joy when the last candidate was so declared.  I met Darrel five and a half years ago when Rosario and I visited Charles during his first semester at college seminary.  We’ve seen each other various times since then.  While Darrel and I aren’t particularly close, the brotherhood among the seminarians, especially those who went to college sem together, and the bond among my siblings are so strong that they extend beyond the immediate relationships.  I’ve come to consider Darrel as a brother and have followed his journey through my own brother.  Hearing Darrel declared worthy literally took my breath away and I was moved to tears.  I always seem to forget how intensely beautiful the Sacrament of Holy Orders is.  It was even more so when being conferred to an extended brother. 

The rest of the liturgy was incredible.  It was one of the most beautiful ordination masses I’ve been to.  The choir was amazing; the song selection was impressive; the bishop’s homily was inspiring.  And all the while, the newly ordained priest and deacons beamed from the altar, unable to contain their joy and zeal.   

Rosario and I received two blessings after mass: one by a priest fifty years ordained (Fr. Bozung) and the other by a priest fifteen minutes ordained (obviously that was from Fr. Luis).   It was a beautiful moment and a glorious day for the Diocese of Grand Rapids and the Catholic Church.

Next year, there will be one priest and three transitional deacons in this crowd!

And two very overjoyed sisters!

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