From the Pastor: Father’s Day, the day for Priests
This weekend we celebrate Father’s Day in the secular world, so Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! But this year we are also celebrating the Fatherhood of Priests in a special way, too. As for myself, I traveled to Michigan to witness my cousin’s ordination to the Priesthood. He is now “Father Jarvis” instead of just Chris, even to me. I am writing this before actually being present at his ordination, of course, but already I cannot describe what it is like to have a family member join me in this incredible gift of true Fatherhood. Blessing us with his presence back home at Epiphany we find another Priest, Canon Commins, who, while also a newly ordained “baby Priest” is already a true Father Priest. He is celebrating the 10:30 Mass for us. While my cousin, becoming a Diocesan Priest, was ordained in the new Rite, Canon Commins, being ordained for the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, which is an order dedicated to the salvation of souls through the use of the traditional Latin Liturgy of 1962 for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the other sacraments, would have been (I hope I am right about this) ordained in the older, pre Vatican II Rite. My guess is that most people reading this (as well as the one writing this) have never been to an ordination in the old Rite. With this in mind, I decided to print for your edification a small exhortation found in the Rituale wherein the Bishop instructs and encourages those he is about to ordain.
My dear sons, who are about to be consecrated to the office of the priesthood, endeavor to receive that office worthily, and once ordained, strive to discharge it in a praiseworthy manner. A priest's duties are to offer sacrifice, to bless, to govern, to preach, and to baptize. So high a dignity should be approached with great awe, and care must be taken that those chosen for it are recommended by eminent wisdom, upright character, and a long-standing virtuous life.
Thus it was that when the Lord commanded Moses to choose as his helpers seventy men from the whole tribe of Israel, to whom He would impart the gifts of the Holy Spirit, He said to him: "Choose the ones whom you know to be elders of the people" (Num 11.16). It is you yourselves who are prefigured in these seventy elders, if now, by the help of the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit, you are faithful to the Ten Commandments, and display soundness and maturity in knowledge and in action.
Under the same kind of sign and figure, our Lord, in the New Law, chose the seventy-two disciples, and sent them before Him two by two to preach. Thus He taught us both by word and by deed that the ministers of His Church should be perfect both in faith and in works; in other words, that their lives should be founded on the twofold love of God and of neighbor. Strive, then, to be such, that by God's grace you may be worthy of being chosen to assist Moses and the twelve apostles, that is, the Catholic bishops who are prefigured by Moses and the apostles. Then indeed is Holy Church surrounded, adorned, and ruled by a wonderful variety of ministers, when from her ranks are consecrated bishops, and others of lesser orders, priests, deacons, and subdeacons, each of a different dignity, yet comprising the many members of the one body of Christ.
Therefore, my dear sons, chosen as you are by the judgment of our brethren to be consecrated as our helpers, keep yourselves blameless in a life of chastity and sanctity. Be well aware of the sacredness of your duties. Be holy as you deal with holy things. When you celebrate the mystery of the Lord's death, see to it that by mortifying your bodies you rid yourselves of all vice and concupiscence. Let the doctrine you expound be spiritual medicine for the people of God. Let the fragrance of your lives be the delight of Christ's Church, that by your preaching and example you help to build up the edifice which is the family of God. May it never come about that we, for promoting you to so great an office, or you, for taking it on yourselves, should deserve the Lord's condemnation; but rather may we merit a reward from Him. So let it be by His grace.
What a beautiful beginning to an ordination Mass! Please pray for for all priests, especially the two mentioned above, for, as the Traditional saying goes, If the priest is a saint, the people will be fervent; if the priest is fervent, the people will be pious; if the priest is pious, the people will at least be decent; if the priest is only decent, the people will be godless. The spiritual generation is always one-degree less intense in its life than the one who begets it in Christ.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka