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The Experience of Ordination Day

At the parish this weekend, we are celebrating Father’s Day (early) and my 10th year anniversary (late) with one big BBQ party. Happy Father’s Day to all of our dads! And, thank you, Assumption, for commemorating my anniversary. Below is the blog post I wrote 10 years ago, “The Experience of Ordination Day.”

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

It’s still hard for me to put into words what happened last Saturday, May 27, at my Ordination to the priesthood and first Mass of Thanksgiving, but I’ll try. In general terms, it was an experience of the Holy Spirit…the glory of God…the kingdom of Heaven. It was awesome!!

I was moved powerfully by the Spirit at the Ordination. During the Rite of Ordination, the twelve of us lay prostrate while the Church sang the Litany of Saints. I internally made my promises for my life as a priest to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. It was intense. I laid down my life as I laid on the floor, and asked the Holy Trinity to help me live out my promises. It brought many tears because it was one of the most profound and serious senses of intimacy I’ve ever had.

Then, after the laying on of hands (the moment of ordination), all of the priests – about 200 – laid hands on each of us twelve. Tears again! The picture from The Washington Post didn’t show them which was probably cool. Again, I really can’t put into words why I was crying and was moved so much, other than to say it was the Holy Spirit. What that means is that I was open to receiving the Spirit in the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and was REALLY receiving the Spirit (I remember reading once that the gift of tears is a gift of the Spirit). So, at the Ordination, when I wasn’t shedding tears of joy, I was smiling with great joy!!

After the almost 3 hour Ordination, I gave “first blessings” for over an hour. That was intense, too! The coolest and most powerful part was when people kissed my hands. My hands were anointed with sacred Chrism just after the laying on of hands, and now are the hands of Christ (when I perform the sacraments). That was one of the moments that told me things were different, and that now I’m a priest!

The first Mass which was later that evening…I was never really nervous – too happy to be nervous. We had many different things going on in the Mass, and I was very focused on them. Everything went so well, thanks be to God, and it really was a glorious liturgy. It was a normal Sunday vigil Mass with a few things added: a friend of mine coming into the Church, and Adoration and Procession of Jesus in the Eucharist in front of about 200 youth around the altar area.

From what I’ve gathered, many people at the first Mass had a very powerful spiritual experience. Again, it was an experience of the Holy Spirit. At one point in the Adoration and Procession, I could feel all 1000 sets of eyes on Jesus in the Eucharist. If that’s true or even close to being true, then we all had the same experience – a powerful encounter with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit in the person of a newly ordained priest. Faith is awesome stuff!! It’s all about faith!

Now that we are post-Memorial Day, summer has unofficially begun. I hope that these months will provide some rest and relaxation as well as quality time with family and friends for all of you. It will obviously be a big summer in our parish with the 100th anniversary coming in August. While summer brings exciting trips and vacations, hopefully, it provides an opportunity to do some reading. Can that include spiritual reading? Every Catholic should be doing some spiritual reading every day for at least 5-10 minutes, so if we’ve been lacking in that, summer gives us a chance.

On the eve of Ordination

What an incredible experience we had last weekend at Father Gregory’s ordination and first Mass of Thanksgiving. Congratulations, Fr. Gregory!! Any priest who attends an ordination remembers his own, and especially if it’s been ten years. So, with all this in mind, and especially on the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, here is a blog post that I wrote on May 26, 2006, “On the eve of ordination”.

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

“So, tomorrow, I get ordained a priest by the awesome Grace of God!! I’m sitting here at St. Francis (Derwood), with the soundtrack from ‘The Mission’ playing on my computer, trying to get all my last minute details taken care of…it’s busy! We had a GREAT week of retreat that ended Thursday, and it’s been crazy ever since. But, good crazy. So, I’ll finish up soon, and then what?

What does a man do the night before he becomes alter Christus (another Christ) in the world? The phone which has been off the hook since yesterday is silent (phew!). My family has gone back to their homes after we got together for Adoration, discussion about what tomorrow will be all about (‘it’s all about Jesus’ my little nieces and nephews shouted out!), and dinner. One conversation awaits. I need to go see Him shortly. I will spend at least an hour with Christ tonight in the chapel. Might be more because I probably won’t be able to sleep (last night, it didn’t happen…too excited). I will be with Him to whom I will give my life fully tomorrow. Kind of makes me think about the night before He handed over his life to the Father and all of us. Tonight might be a sort of Gethsemane. But, I will try to rest in his peace. He has drawn me to his heart, his Sacred Heart, through the Immaculate Heart of his mother. It’s hard to put in words what my own heart is experiencing now, this closely united to Christ. I will be changed sacramentally and ontologically tomorrow, but he has been changing me so much over the past several years. I am not worthy to be a priest of Jesus Christ; it’s only because he has formed me and shaped me to be like Him that I can go forward tomorrow. Now, with all of the hoopla and details, I have caught myself forgetting one of the biggest moments of all after the laying on of hands (that’s the point at the Ordination when I become a priest): the Consecration of the bread and wine at my first Mass. For 14 years, it’s been a dream. The Dream. To make Christ present on Earth. Truly present. Through my hands. Through my words. But, they will be His hands… His words. His body…his blood. Tomorrow, the Incredible happens. All because of Him who is Incredible. Awesome. Amazing. It’s all about Him. ‘It’s all about Jesus.’

Double joy: Feast of the Trinity and a newly ordained priest

Homily by Father Ku