My life is in boxes……
I am sure that you know the feeling. Moving is always a bit unsettling, by definition. There is something liberating, and yet bothersome, about packing up your material things and moving them to a new place. It is liberating because you realize that your things are not your life. It is bothersome because of the work involved! At the writing of this entry (June 1, 2013) I am currently in the process of moving from Our Lady of Peace Parish in Erie, PA to St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Emlenton, PA (100 miles, 90 minute drive).
On this day, which found me unpacking and hanging pictures of my new home, I remember one of the most significant changes in my life. It was my Ordination to the Priesthood on June 8, 2007. I will probably pop in the DVD of my ordination at some point this week, and be reminded of that moment where I received the Sacrament of Holy Orders. During this season of changes for myself and many others, I am reminded of that most significant change in my life. “You are a Priest forever, according to the Order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 7:17). I am forever a sharer in the the Priesthood of Jesus Christ.
One of the most memorable moments from my Ordination (or any Ordination) was the Litany of Saints. At this moment, those to be Ordained lay down “prostrate” on the floor of the Cathedral Sanctuary, while the people typically kneel. The cantor sings out a Litany of Saints: St. John the Baptist… pray for us ….. St. Francis…….pray for us……… St. John Vianney……. pray for us. It goes on for a good 5-10 minutes. The idea is that the Saints in Heaven are praying with and for the Church on Earth at this crucial moment when a new priest is to be Ordained. We ask for the Saints to pray that God will “bless these chosen men and make them holy.”
When I laid down on the marble floor with my ordination classmate, Fr. Justin Pino, that June night in 2007, I was very calm. I was calm because I felt that face down and on the floor was the proper body posture for me in my situation. I was about to become a sharer in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, for the administering of the Sacraments and preaching of the Word of God. What an awesome gift to be given to such an unworthy person as myself. What a mystery beyond my mortal understanding. Yes, it was time to get humble, to get down to the dirt, to get down to the ground. It was time to call in the holy reinforcements, the saints, for all the prayers they could give me…….
After that Litany concluded, I went over to the chair to have hands laid on my by Bishop Donald Trautman. This action made me a Priest forever. However, I would like to think that part of me never left that floor on which I laid. Part of me never did get up off of that floor, or maybe never should have risen from that floor. For I still need all the prayers I can get. I need the Saints’ support – I need the Church’s prayers. The moment that the Priest believes that he stands on anything else than the sanctity, work, and prayers of the Church, past and present, then that is the moment a priest is in trouble. Indeed, saints, angels, faithful, pray for your priests. Never stop. Pray for more priests! Pray for your families and your marriages, for if they turn sour, we will never have priests.
This upcoming Friday, June 7, is the Priesthood Ordination of Deacon David Renne for service to the Diocese of Erie. And so, I am looking ahead to that with great anticipation, knowing that Deacon David will make a wonderful Father David! Pray for Deacon David, soon to be Fr. David, coming soon to a parish near you! And if so inclined, please join us at St. Peter Cathedral this Friday at 7 P.M. for the Ordination liturgy.