Bishop Robert Brennan’s 2024 Ordination Homily

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY

Bishop Robert Brennan gives his 2024 Ordination Homily at the St. Joseph Co-Cathedral on Saturday, June 1.

Four transitional deacons were ordained in the Diocese of Brooklyn.

“Welcome one and all to the Cathedral of St. Joseph to celebrate that these, our sons and your relatives and friends, are soon to be advanced to the Order of Priests. I extend a special welcome
to the members of their families here present and those who join us from great distances by way of live-stream and NET-TV.

Thanks to all of you for your support of these men and the role you have played in helping them to know Jesus Christ and to follow his call. It is so good to be together with the bishops
and so many priests and religious, with the deacons and so many who build up the Church here in Brooklyn and Queens and you who serve for the formation of priests.

I do want to say a particular word to all of you, the faithful – so many of you here and others through NET-TV: Your presence speaks volumes about the ways that these men of witnessed among
you these years, about your own deep faith and about your love for your priests. I can say enough about how much that means.

Thank you, thank you thank you. Consider carefully the nature of the ministerial rank in the Church to which they shall be raised. They are to be configured to Christ the eternal High Priest and joined to the Priesthood of the Bishops; they will be consecrated as true Priests of the New Testament, in order to preach the Gospel, shepherd God’s people, and celebrate divine worship, especially in the Lord’s Sacrifice.

The Church in Brooklyn and Queens, indeed the whole Church rejoices in this magnificent gift. We give thanks to God for this grace and for the courageous and generous response of these men about to be ordained.

Now, beloved sons, Caetano, Luis, Randy and Toby, you are to be raised to the Order of the Priesthood, configured to Christ, the teacher, priest and shepherd; so as to serve Him, sharing in His ministry.  Your first and most important responsibility is to be a faithful disciple.

Jesus speaks very directly to you in today’s Gospel which bring us to his table on the night before he died.

“This is my commandment: love one another as love you. No one has greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.”

Do you hear that? Jesus calls you friends. He calls you friends. He makes known to you everything from the Father. Make no mistake about it. I realize you are here today because you have heard that invitation of Jesus into a profound friendship. That friendship led you to discern your vocation. Through the formation process – through study, prayer and honest dialogue, you have
grown to know Jesus better.

Ah, but this is only the beginning. You must strive to know him more and more; to know him as He truly is and not who you want him to be. Let your friendship with Christ be at the very heart of everything you do and more importantly all that you are. Be close to him in your prayer. Be rooted in His word in Sacred Scripture and close to Him in the Sacraments and Adoration.

Keep this Gospel passage especially close to you. Listen carefully to the voice of Jesus as he speaks directly to you. Only after calling you friends does he send you forth: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” What is this fruit that will remain? It is nothing less than Jesus himself.

Brothers, soon to be brother priests, the world is desperate to know Jesus Christ and the gift of his friendship. Whether or not it realizes it, the hunger is real. As priests of Jesus Christ, you will bring Jesus Himself. You will do so through your preaching and witness. You will do so through your humble ministerial service. You will do so through the celebration of the Sacraments.

Be generous witnesses of Jesus – Bold, Joyful and Unapologetic. Jesus took to himself the prophesy of Isaiah proclaimed in the first reading today. You know it well. “The Spirit of the Lord God is
upon me, because the Lord has anointed me.”

In friendship, he hands it on to you: sending you, anointing you to bring glad tidings to the lowly, healing to the broken hearted; the lifting burdens from those who mourn and bestowing a glorious mantle in place of a listless spirit.

You will celebrate your Masses of Thanksgiving tomorrow on the Feast of Corpus Christi. This, in the midst of Eucharistic Revival. Now, I may be a little biased, but these have been moments of
tremendous grace. We are witnessing a genuine hunger for Jesus and a profound love for Him in the Eucharist. During the National Eucharistic Procession here om Brooklyn last week, a lady turned to me and said, “the faith is deep.”

I can’t help but really think about her observation. It is deep. The faith is deep. I wish it were a little wider – encompassing more of our brothers and sisters. But let me tell you, where there is faith it is Real, it is Deep. This is where you come in. You will exercise in Christ the office of sanctifying; for by your ministry the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful will be made perfect. In the celebration of the mysteries, it is united to the Sacrifice of Christ, which is offered, through your hands and in union with them, in an unbloody manner on the altar.

Understand, therefore, what you do, and imitate what you celebrate; as celebrants of the mystery of the Lord’s Death and Resurrection, may you strive to put to death whatever is sinful within you and to walk in newness of life.

Remember, when you gather men and women into the People of God through Baptism and, in the name of Christ and the Church, forgive sins in the Sacrament of Penance, when you comfort the
sick with holy oil and celebrate the sacred rites, when you offer praise and thanksgiving through the hours of the day and pray not only for the People of God but for the whole world: always
remember that you have been taken from among the people and appointed on their behalf in those things that pertain to God.

Fulfill, therefore, the ministry of Christ the Priest with abiding joy and genuine love. Seek not your own concerns but those of Jesus Christ. The elder, St. Paul asks the younger Timothy to set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. Do not neglect the gift conferred on you this day through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands. Keep always before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for his friends.”