A Memorable Moment for the Diocese
We came together on Saturday, June 3rd, to celebrate the Priestly Ordination of three of our Diocese’s seminarians. God saw in these men the goodness and generosity of their hearts to prayerfully shepherd His people. They go now as Apostles into a world hungry for God and his compassion. Their primary task is to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. I reminded them that when we preach the Gospel, we do so more with our lives than with our words. As Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with saying, “Preach the Gospel always, when necessary use words.”
The grace we receive from God transforms life. That grace is the Spirit of God living within us and helping us to serve and give our lives for the needs of others. For these newly ordained priests, their life and time are no longer their own. They belong to the Church and to God’s people. To lead prayer and worship, to work daily on the sanctification of those in their care as well as their own. To guide others as they respond to our universal call to holiness that we received through baptism, and to follow Christ and be like Christ—to walk the path Christ walked.
The Church needs their prayers, their faith, their fidelity, their holiness, and their generosity. Recognizing the need to truly follow God’s Will, they must seek to be and remain humble, with a joyful spirit of giving. To be steadfast in faith and a shining example of Christ’s love to those they encounter.
I pray they remember these three things:
- Their priesthood is for the service of God’s people,
- They are now instruments of God’s Word, grace, and mercy—flowing through them to His people.
- To Conform their life to the Lord and the Mystery of the Cross.
The Newly Ordained Reflect
Father Brian Connors
Choosing a few things to highlight from our ordination weekend, as you can imagine, is incredibly difficult. I found the laying on of hands from each priest a particularly moving moment of the Ordination Rite, realizing the honor and blessing of being part of this brotherhood of priests. It was also amazing to see so many people come to support us and be present at the Cathedral for the Ordination.
At my first Solemn Mass celebrated on Sunday, again, I was moved by the number of people present. It meant so much to look out and see everyone who supported my becoming a Catholic eight years ago and throughout my vocation journey. As for the Liturgy itself, there are simply no words to describe how it felt to pray the words of Consecration for the first time.
I pray as a priest that I am instrumental in creating parishes where people always encounter Jesus in meaningful and profound ways. I pray I am able to serve the Church and help people discover Jesus’ great love for them.
Father John Garabedian
This past weekend was the most beautiful and enjoyable one yet. At my ordination and first Mass I experienced a deep peace and joy. It felt natural and comfortable but also surreal and mysterious. I was aware of the incredible gift God was giving me and was doing my best to fully receive it, enjoy it and soak it all in.
I felt blessed to be surrounded by all the people who love, formed, and supported me – including my family, friends, priests, parishioners, high school friends, old co-workers, and baseball coaches. It was like all of my worlds colliding- NJ, Fall River, old friends, new friends.
Lastly, it was very humbling giving out so many blessings and having my newly consecrated hands kissed by brother priests.
Father Chris Hughes
This weekend was absolutely incredible! The Ordination Mass and First Mass were moments in my life that I will never forget. I have never felt as close to the Lord – or experienced so much joy – as I did then.
As I processed down the aisle and saw so many people, I felt the love of God in a very intimate way. I truly felt that this was a preview of Heaven – as I was surrounded by so many people I know and love dearly in many ways – family, friends from college, high school, and childhood, parishioners, friends from seminary, and priests that were role models for me in my discernment – that I am now humbled and privileged to call brother priests.
The joy has continued throughout my first few days of my priesthood as I have celebrated my first Masses, anointings, and heard my first confessions. God is good and I feel so blessed to share in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ!
A Special Ordination in Brazil
As many may have read online, I will be traveling more than 4,200 miles to celebrate Deacon Thiago Menezes Santos’ ordination in his hometown of Aracaju, the capital of Sergipe state on Brazil’s northeast coast.
Deacon Thiago lost his mother tragically in a car accident last year, and that was devastating to him and his family. His father then became his closest relative and his real emotional support and connection. I knew Deacon Thiago really wished his father could witness his ordination, and the father had his heart set on that too. Like any family preparing for such an important event, they were really counting on it. His father applied for a visa to come to the ordination, and he was denied. Another devastating moment for Thiago and for his family. My heart went out to him, his father, and, quite honestly, his family. I made the decision immediately—since they cannot come here for your ordination, I can go and ordain you there.
The ordination will take place June 9 in Thiago’s home parish church, which he shared has always been a dream of his. The ceremony will be livestreamed at 6:30 p.m. EDT via the YouTube channel of his home parish, Paróquia São Pio X- Aracaju: https://www.youtube.com/@paroquiasaopiox-aracaju9840. Upon returning from Brazil, then, Fr. Thiago will celebrate his first Mass in the Fall River Diocese at 11:15 a.m., Sunday, June 18, in St. Anthony Church in Taunton.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha