Four new priests ordained June 2
In giving advice to four transitional deacons soon to be ordained priests of the Diocese of Richmond, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo told them that they should not see their new ministry as triumphalistic or entitled.
The Bishop’s advice came in the homily after each of the four men came forth during the Calling of the Candidates and following the assurance from Father Michael Boehling, Vicar of Vocations, the four men were well prepared and eager to begin their ministry as priests.
Seated with their parents and other family members, the four men individually came forward as their names were called. Joseph F. Goldsmith, Christopher M. Hess, Carlos H. Lerma and Sean M. Prince each answered “present” as they left their pew and stood before the Bishop who was seated by the altar.
The congregation responded with hearty applause at the Election of the Candidates.
More than 1,200 people filled every vacant space in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Saturday morning, June 2, with many in the congregation coming long distances to Richmond. The crowd was so large that the Cathedral was filled by 10 a.m., a half hour before the ordination liturgy was to begin. Some worshippers had to be seated behind the altar where the Diocesan Choir was stationed. Others were directed to stand in the choir loft.
As he reflected on the words from the Gospel of Matthew which had just been proclaimed, Bishop DiLorenzo said that priests “are not to be served by others, but to serve, to give his own life as a ransom for many.”
He then told the story of Debbi Fields, who he described as a young woman in California from a working class family, the daughter of a welder and a stay-at-home mom.
At age 13 she got her first job baking cookies. She later married Randy Fields from Stanford University. They had five children and lived in Palo Alto.
One day someone asked Debbi what she did, presumably expecting she would say where she was employed.
“I stay at home, watch the house and mind the children,” Debbi responded.
The question and her response came at a period when more women, including young mothers, were entering the workforce. Debbi may have been motivated by the question to get back to her love of baking cookies, trying to sell them for profit. She opened her own shop in Palo Alto and the business took off with the name “Mrs. Fields Cookies.”
In addition to making quality cookies, Debbi wanted to make the customer “number one,” Bishop DiLorenzo said.
“If you have something worthwhile to offer, get out and share it,” he said.
“She went out and made it happen, but service was the main goal,” the Bishop said.
With that message, Bishop DiLorenzo asserted that the four men to be ordained needed to realize that they, too, had a “worthwhile product” in the message of Christ and that they are called to share it with others.
Encouraging them to have “the attitude and behavior of a servant as Jesus was,” Bishop DiLorenzo said that St. Augustine had said what service of a priest should be like.
Among the traits or qualities they should follow were:
Seek what belongs to Jesus and not what is ours.
Be prophetic in the Biblical sense of the word
Be on guard against temptation
Do not be possessed by your possessions
The four newly ordained priests gathered immediately after the liturgy on the Cathedral plaza and gave their priestly blessing to long lines of those who were eager to receive it.
“It was wonderful to see the large turnout for four newly ordained priests,” said Beth Laws, a member of Cathedral Parish.
“The fact that we had four new priests is a blessing in itself and it gives great hope for the future,” her husband, Mike Laws, added.
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