As I am still in the cloud enjoying my moment of glory before real life, let me share with you. what i think of my ordination.
The ordination was like my “Tabor Moment.” Jesus took three of the disciples and went up a high mountain; there, he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appeared and conversed with him (cf. Mt 17:1-3). That was the closest experience they had of the beatific vision while on earth. Jesus allowed them to taste, though briefly, the contemplation of eternal joy so that when the cross happens, they might not falter in their faith (cf. Luke 12:32). Without a doubt, last weekend was not far from the experience of Tabor. It was a little foretaste of what it means to respond generously to God’s call. He allowed me to see the future joy that ministering well might bring, and the unceasing prayer, generous support, untold gratitude, and beautiful kindness we have in the Church community. Many laughed, cried, and savored the weekend with me to the brim; they have promised to pray for me; I blessed them; they congratulated me. Such a holy weekend is not easily forgotten. Such an experience propels me forward to serve selflessly, give myself willingly, and embrace my ministry wholeheartedly because I have the support of the people of God. So, in challenging times, tough days, this is a moment I will remember as I minister and spread the gospel of joy in every corner of the Diocese of Providence.
Furthermore, the people of God get it. I have been assigned to many parishes throughout our time in seminary. Consequently, I have met, befriended, and touched many. They have seen me grow, mature, and persevere year in year out. They know I will be their priests. They count on me to be their companion, guide, solace, minister of salvation, and dispenser of grace and blessing from the cradle to the grave. As soon as a person entered this world, they expect the priest to be available to impart on him/her supernatural life through baptism. The priest accompanies the dead to their resting place in the grave with rites and prayers of immortal hope. When they are suffering, they know the priest is there. When going gets tough in the journey, the priest strengthens them with the grace of the sacraments.
When they fall away from grace, they are reconciled with God in the sacrament of penance through the hands of the priest. Called to found a family, the priest is there to receive and bless this unitive and procreative love. The priest stands by them in the best and worst periods of their lives—new life, fears, doubts, concerns, sadness, troubles, or celebrations. He coaches them about how to win the race and fix their eyes fixed on Jesus, the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings (Gaudium Spes 45). Most importantly, behind the scene, in supplications, fasting, penances, study, hours on his knees, he prepares himself daily to live up to the lofty promises he made at ordination before God and his people. So, Out of gratitude and love the faithful come out in droves to celebrate and welcome the new priests as a way to tell them: “welcome them to our lives. We are glad you are here. Show us the way.” That’s what the ordination meant to me.