Permit me to echo the first words of Genesis because it strikes me as very similar to what happens over the course of (what?) six years in the heart of a young man called to the priesthood. Something brand new is created, not only in his heart but in the heart of a diocese . . . a priest.
Genesis makes it very clear that in the beginning it was pretty messy. The earth was a wasteland, a raging wind blew over the swirling waters, and darkness was everywhere. God’s simple words “let there be . . .” brought about the beginning of the divine plan of creation.
So why is this like ordaining a priest? Because by itself chaos doesn’t make priests. It takes an act of God. Similar to the moment you were conceived in your mother’s womb – only deeper – God wills a new human life to be conformed to the person of Jesus Christ so that the mediation of God and human kind might continue as Christ instructed the apostles. “Do this.”
When you think of all the ways the plan of God can go unheeded by those who are called, it’s a wonder and a grace that any man be ordained to the priest-hood. But that’s not what’s happening in the Diocese of Rochester.
Next Saturday, June 20, four men, Daniel Ruiz, Matt Jones, Mike Fowler, and Carlos Sanchez will be ordained to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ.
This is the largest ordination in 30 years in our diocese. (I hope you will join us at the cathedral for this wonderful moment in our church.) Not only this year, but looking out over these next seven years we have much to be grateful for. By God’s grace, if the men currently in priestly formation persevere there will be 18 new priests ordained by 2022.
That was the good news. Now here’s the challenge. (There’s always a challenge.) In that same seven years there will be 37 priests eligible to retire. That’s twice as many as will be ordained. Hmmmm.
Knowing the generosity of our priests, I’m sure many will choose to stay in active ministry. Nevertheless it seems clear we will never have more priests than we need, and for a while perhaps, we may go wanting.
So what should we humans do if vocations ultimately come from God? Jesus answers this clearly. Pray. God wants us to want priests. God wants us to want teachers, pastoral leaders, missionaries, any man or woman who will help with the harvest. The fields are so rich for God’s harvest but the gatherers are few. “Pray the master of the harvest send out laborers for his harvest.” LK. 10:2
So back to Genesis . . . let’s not be afraid of the wind and the waves and sometimes the darkness . . . let’s sow the seeds to our young people, “come, follow me.” Trust God to make their hearts burn.
Family Picnic Lunch
At noon today/tomorrow all are invited to bring picnic lunches, and, weather permitting, enjoy time together on the north lawn. Families with young children are especially invited to come and meet other families in our parish. Ice cream will be provided. Please spread the word!