I was thinking today about the promises that I made at my Ordination – both my Ordination to transitional diaconate and to priesthood. (A priest is ordained as a “transitional” deacon, as opposed to permanent diaconate, for a period of usually up to one year before priesthood). I look back on these promises from time to time to see if I am ‘measuring up’ to God and to the people I serve. Of course I do not fulfill them perfectly, but as priests we try.
Here are just some of them:
At Ordination I promised respect and obedience to my bishop (I was ordained by Bishop John Smith) and his successors (now Bishop David O’Connell). I resolved to “celebrate the mysteries of Christ [especially the sacraments and other liturgies and rituals] faithfully and religiously as the Church has handed them down to us.” I resolved to “maintain and deepen a spirit of prayer” and to celebrate faithfully the Liturgy of the Hours.
At Ordination I resolved to “remain celibate for the sake of the kingdom.” I resolved to unite myself “more closely every day to Christ the High Priest.” What a grace-filled way of life! I am so lucky to work and minister with two wonderful priests here at the parish: Fr. Mike Hall, my parochial vicar and Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Trenton, and Fr. Jay Bowden, who as a “retired” priest is as busy as ever! I learn many things about being a priest from both of these men, who strive to live out their promises as well.
Thank you for allowing us to exercise our priestly ministry here at St. Gregory’s. It is a privilege. Thank you also for praying for us – we of course pray for you – and please pray for more vocations to the priesthood! There may be a future priest in your own family!