Three years ago Hubby Tony and I went to the ordination of a young man from our parish. Since that time there have been two more men ordained as Archdiocesan priests (one from each of our boys' parish elementary school graduating classes). The last one took place yesterday, and today Tony and I went to his first public mass.
This first mass is called the Mass of Thanksgiving, which gives thanks for his ordination. We'd also been to the other two 'first' masses, so we could see the similarities and differences in each of them. One major difference was the time this one was held. The other two times the church had added an extra celebration, but this one was during a normal Sunday Mass. The church was quite full; the pews were filled with a mixture of people who normally attend at that time and people who chose to be there for the celebration.
The entrance procession at a major Catholic celebration is always quite impressive, and this one was no exception. First came a thurifer (who carried the thurible holding the incense). Next was the crucifer carrying the crucifix, and two candle bearers. They were followed by the remaining servers and multiple seminarians, and then the lector carrying the book of the Gospels. After all that came the clergy, starting with the deacons. They were followed by the concelebrants (all three parish priests as well as many others), and finally the principal celebrant.
I could tell the new priest was nervous. During the greeting he had trouble with the microphone and it was hard to hear what he was saying. However, it didn't take him long to relax, and he did a great job. He had some help from a Master of Ceremonies, who directed the people on the altar and made sure things ran smoothly. At the other first masses someone else did the preaching, but today when it came time for the homily, I was surprised to see the new priest step up to the pulpit. This time he had no problem with the microphone, and his sermon was simple but thought-provoking. The photographer took photos during key moments.
After Communion and before the final blessing the priest said a few closing remarks. He thanked all the people who'd helped with the Mass and had some special words for his parents. During his remarks to his Mom his voice broke, which caused me to tear up, too. After the Mass was over everyone was invited to the parish center for a reception. We got to greet the new priest and get one of his first blessings.
Five years ago today: Jelled