With one hour to go, Bishop Jaime Soto is slotted to ordain three men for the sacred duty of the priesthood this morning at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. In full regal pomp, with incense, bells, and chant, these men will be ordained to serve as priests of the vast geographical Diocese of Sacramento which spans from Vallejo to the Oregon borderline. They will also be joined by three men who enter holy orders to the Transitional Diaconate.
It’s a great season of rejoicing for the Church for the Lord increases her ministers and as he does so there are three things that we must constantly keep in mind:
- Gift. The ministerial ordained priesthood is a pure gift from God. No one earns in. All of us are sinners. God calls through the heart of the candidate and the discernment of the Church. No one is entitled to the collar that makes a man a public figure in society. The ordained priesthood exists to serve the priesthood of the baptized.
- Pray. These men along with the three who will be ordained to the transitional diaconate will be pulled and stretched to every human experience possible. The priesthood is a demanding ministry. We must constantly offer prayers for our priests, support them with our love and care, and constantly remind them of the call to be servants. So let us offer sacrifices of prayer for them and entrust them to the protection of the Virgin Mary.
- Serve. While they serve us as ministers of the sacraments, their service must remind us of our own baptismal priesthood to go and proclaim the gospel in service to the poor and vulnerable. We are not excused. We are exhorted to serve and bring Christ to others.
Remember, O most loving heart of Jesus, that they for whom I pray are those for whom you prayed so earnestly the night before your death. These are they to whom you look to continue with you in your sorrows when others forsake you, who share your griefs and have inherited your persecutions, according to your word: That the servant is not greater than his Lord. Remember, O heart of Jesus, that they are the objects of the world’s hatred and Satan’s deadliest snares. Keep them then, O Jesus, in the safe citadel of your sacred heart and there let them be sanctified in truth. May they be one with you and one among themselves, and grant that multitudes may be brought through their word to believe in you and love you. Amen.