By Katie Engesser
The Diocese of Brooklyn was blessed on Saturday with four new priests. In celebration, angelic voices filled the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
Hundreds of priests, deacons, seminarians and lay faithful, representing the entire diocese, witnessed Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio bestowing the sacrament of Holy Orders upon the men.
“The ordination ceremony is one of the most beautiful ones we have,” Bishop DiMarzio explained.
These men have been getting ready for many years for this wonderful day.
Newly ordained Father Michael Falce said “it still has to hit me. I think I have to get in the car and let it really just settle in a bit.”
With the Litany of the Saints echoing off the Cathedral’s walls, the newly ordained show they are willing to lay down their lives for the Lord as they prostrate themselves before their Bishop.
The act of humility is meant to symbolize their unworthiness for the priesthood.
Father Pedro Angucho, when talking about the act, said “You know, I was praying to all the Saints, that they make me also holy.”
Bishop DiMarzio said, “They are supposed to be spiritual men, men of God, keeping their promises that they make today.”
The men vow to obey, always, the Bishop and his successors.
Then the ultimate moment was celebrated in silence: the Laying on of Hands. Bishop DiMarzio calls upon the Holy Spirit to fill the men with grace. It’s at this instant they become priests.
Father JohnPaul Obiaeri said, “I thank God for this wonderful day.”
Now able to serve the people of God, they are welcomed by their brother priests.
“To have them say congratulations, welcome to the priesthood, welcome to the brotherhood… It’s a beautiful thing,” Father Michael said.
Father JohnPaul added “They’re praying for you and I actually feel those prayers”
As they join those priests in concelebrating the rest of the mass, their vocations come to life.
Father Edwin Ortiz said “You know being up here as a seminarian serving mass is one thing, but actually participating, saying the words along with the priests and the bishops…it’s a wow moment.
Though the mass had ended, the priests’ work had just begun; they then each went to a separate station to greet family and friends as spiritual fathers.
“Yeah, I’m pretty lost for words right now… I don’t know what to say.” Father Edwin said of the ordination day.
Father JohnPaul, also at a loss for words, said “I’m so happy, I don’t have the right words to explain how I feel inside.”
That joy too big for words also extended to family, who were filled with their own emotions.
Father Michael’s father, Joseph, said with tears in his eyes “these are tears of joy, I’m just so proud of him.”
Father John Paul’s mother, who came from Nigeria for her son’s ordination, said through an interpreter “this is the day the Lord has made and that’s why I thank god.”
The four fathers, with their first assignments, will now be sent out into the world to do God’s work.
“That is the key,” Father JohnPaul explained, “that is the bottom line: getting into the ministry and then helping the people.”
All of these new priests are excited to fulfill their mission and lead people closer to Christ.
“I’m so happy. You know the people of God are always with me and I will try to do my best for the people of God,” Father Pedro said.