This week, as we pray together for the men in our diocese who will be ordained to the priesthood and the transitional diaconate on Saturday, we reflect upon Our Lord’s invitation to the priesthood and those who respond generously to His call.
By: Anne-Marie Minnis, Staff Spotlight
This was basically the headline — Ordinations Save Lives — after a priesthood ordination in Nepal was credited with saving an entire Himalayan village. Its inhabitants were spared in the recent earthquake while attending the Ordination Mass of a native son who was being ordained a Jesuit priest.
On April 25, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, killing more than 8,000 people and leaving a path of unimaginable destruction in its wake. In Hindus of Tarkerabari, the village where the ordination was held (which is near the epicenter of the earthquake), only one girl was reported injured. Villagers claimed, “Because of the [ordination] ceremony here, we were saved. God has protected us.” They referred to it as “the miracle of the ordination.”
As we look toward the Ordination Mass here in the Diocese of Arlington this weekend, when Bishop Loverde will ordain seven men to the ministerial priesthood and one to the transitional diaconate, I hope that we will not experience a similar drama. However, if we consider the meaning of the priesthood and what it signifies for the lives of our souls, there is no doubt that ordinations do, in fact, save lives.
Last year, there were 8,844 Baptisms in our diocese; that’s almost 9,000 souls initiated into the Divine life, made children of God! (Although in an emergency situation anyone can baptize, the proper minister of the Sacrament is an ordained priest or deacon.)
And that’s just the beginning. Without priests, there’s no Eucharist; there’s no Christ giving Himself to us in Holy Communion; there’s no real presence in the Tabernacle; there’s no one giving our souls the strength it needs to make it to heaven.
Without priests, there’s no confession; there’s no big exhale after hearing the words, “I absolve you from your sins…”; there’s no uplifting confidence that our souls have been restored to God’s good graces and strengthened to continue fighting the good fight;
Without priests, there’s no Sacrament of Anointing; there’s no comfort at the bedside of a dying relative as his or her physical life comes to an end; there’s no consolation in knowing their soul has been cleansed to meet the Lord.
If we truly believe, as the Catechism says, that the sacraments are necessary for our salvation, and we need priests to perform the sacraments, then it becomes clear that we need more priests! The Arlington Diocese has almost 2,000 Catholics per Catholic priest. Let us pray for these men who are being ordained, and pray for more men to answer the call to the priesthood… Our lives depend on it!
This year on June 6, Bishop Paul Loverde will celebrate one combined ordination ceremony, where he will ordain men to both the diaconate and to the priesthood, at the Cathedral at 11 a.m. Find more information here.
All are encouraged to attend the Holy Hour from 7:30-8:30 p.m. at Marymount University, in the Sacred Heart of Mary Chapel on the Vigil of the Ordination, June 5. Find more details here.
Staff Spotlight is — in an ongoing effort to get a range of content on Encourage & Teach — content from staff members within the Diocese of Arlington from contributors who do not write as a part of their day-to-day job.
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