Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fr. Joe's Ordination

The last year I worked as the Youth Minister at my church we had a seminarian named Joe. Joe was in seminary and served at our church for about a year and a half as part of his studies.  While he was there I was officially not the youngest person on staff! (He is five months younger than me!)  Joe has a great voice and sings in a couple of vocal groups.  He loves kids and youth of all ages, and most of the kids at my church remember him as "Pirate Joe" from the Johnny Depp looking character he played at Vacation Bible School one summer!

On Saturday Frances and I were honored to have the opportunity to attend his ordination to the Priesthood.  We left early Saturday morning for the trip to Richmond. We stopped in Charlottesville to pick up Louisa and arrived at the Cathedral with plenty of time to look around and admire the view. 

The Mass took about two hours, but there was so much ceremony to it that I didn't really notice.  There were four men being ordained and there was one section of seats dedicated to each one. We sat in Joe's section behind the seats reserved for family.  We had a pretty good view of everything that went on.  Frances enjoyed it all as well. She stood on her pew for a better view for some of the parts.

I had two favorite parts that I want to be sure to remember:

One part of the Mass had the four priest-candidates kneeling in front of the altar. The Bishop came by each one to lay hands on them.  Behind the Bishop came all the priests in attendance.  Louisa leaned over to Frances and we had this conversation:

Louisa: The Bishop is laying his hands on Joe just the same as someone laid hands on the Bishop when he was ordained as a priest.  

Me: After Jesus was resurrected, he laid his hands on the disciples and commissioned them as His priests. After that, those men laid their hands on other men and so on and so on all the way until now.

Frances: oh

Me: It's like a great big game of telephone all the way from Jesus!

Frances: OH! {and her eyes got all big as she took in the meaning}

After Joe received his new vestments, he turned to face the congregation.  The joy on his face was indescribable! The congregation was clapping and cheering.  His parents were in the front row ahead of him. I was far enough back, that I couldn't hear the words; but I had a very clear view of him say, "I'm a priest!" with a huge ear-to-ear grin on his face. I mentioned to Frances that it was little bit like a wedding-that Joe had committed his life to God and was promising to serve Him all his life. It was very beautiful.  And the best part about this whole story is that Joe's first priestly assignment is at our church. I am excited to have him back and I am excited for the witness that he will bear (especially to the youth of our parish who knew him "before.")

The men were proclaimed to be "worthy of the priesthood" by the Bishop.

There were several points where the Bishop said different prayers over each man.

Joe receiving his new vestments.

Being welcomed and congratulated by the Bishop.

Me, Frances, Fr. Joe, and Louisa after Mass!

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