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My Ordination litany

This year the anniversary of my ordination coincides with the ordination of Eric Sanchez, CM as a priest and Walner Diaz, CM as a deacon.

I have to pinch myself when I think it has been over half a century since I lay prostrate in the sanctuary of Mary Immaculate Seminary. The community prayed over me and my classmates with a litany of saints.

At every ordination since then I consider it a privilege to pray this litany with and for each new group. Of course, there is that special moment when all the priests present join with the Bishop in imposing hands on the heads of these men.

I remember thinking this is the day I had been preparing for. This is the day I beign ministry as a Vincentian priest.

 I felt humbled to be ordained and looked forward to a life of ministry. I don’t think I gave any thought to how many years it would be. Of course, I now realize how little, beyond theory, I understood a priesthood of service.

So many moments flood back to me now. I realize these memories form a different kind of litany, a litany of my life.

My personal litany today

I give thanks for

  • The moments when I gained new insights into what it meant to be a Vincentian priest. 
  • The moments when I realized how far I was from living up an ideal of a Vincentian priest.
  • The moments when I appreciated the support and the example of the priests and brothers I have lived with.
  • The moments when I experienced the privilege of being with so many in “the best of times” and “the worst of times” of their lives.
  • The moments when I realized I was part of the wider Vincentian Family.
  • The moments when I understood that Vincent balanced meeting immediate needs for spiritual and physical first aid with the creative genius to find solutions to underlying problems.

I know I will not have another 50 years. My prayer today is for Eric and Walner as they walk in a world so different from my world fifty years ago.

It is a world that, despite the technological advancements, has an often unrecognized hunger for the same good news people have longed for over the centuries.

It is a world that struggles with recognizing that we are equally loved as sons and daughters and called to love one another as sisters and brothers no matter what are our superficial differences of skin color, birthplace, etc.

A litany in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul

“Our vocation is to go, not just to one parish, not just to one diocese, but to all over the world, and to do what?  To set people’s hearts on fire, to do what the Son of God did.  He came to set the world on fire in order to inflame it with his love.”

Bishop David O’Connell, CM reminds us

They stand in a tradition “on fire” with Christ ‘s love; and the flame is still burning,

They carry a

• burning for the poor and abandoned

• burning for those in formation for priestly ministry;

• burning for those in countless churches longing to hear God’s Word;

• burning in their confessionals, for those aching for God’s mercy;

• burning for those in schools and universities seeking knowledge and wisdom;

• burning in hospitals and prisons;

• burning for and with the Daughters of Charity and the wider Vincentian family;

• burning at home and in mission lands;

• burning for justice and peace and inclusion and wholeness and Christ’s love.

This has always been and remains our charism and our mission; our place and our role in the Church; our sermon in the pulpit and on the city’s streets.

God bless Walner and Eric!

Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk

Ordinations Then and Now