Yesterday morning at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Avondale, AZ, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix ordained four men to the Catholic Priesthood – Rev. Mr. Sheunesu Utete Bowora, Rev. Mr. Daniel James Connealy, Rev. Mr. Ryan Christopher Lee, and Rev. Mr. David Michael Loeffler. It was a joyful day here in the diocese as these men were added to the ranks of the Holy Priesthood – “You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 7:17).
A vocation boom is happening in the Church – many young men are hearing God’s call to discern and eventually enter the Catholic Priesthood. It’s not as if God stopped calling men to the Priesthood, but what seemed to happen was that young men stopped listening to the voice of God. Many dioceses around the country and around the world, especially in Africa and Asia, are seeing an increase of men entering seminary. Please continue to pray for an increase to vocations to the Priesthood, so that we have more workers in the vineyard for the years to come.
The Catholic Priesthood is a topic that I have written on many times over the past 4½ years. When you witness on a daily basis the great example of holy men from different walks of life, and at different times in their priesthood, you want to share that with others in the hopes that they can experience the beauty and sanctity of the Catholic Priesthood that you see frequently. Although completely and totally human, the men I work with truly live their vocation day-by-day, always seeking to serve the parish/diocese and the culture as Jesus Christ. It is an honor to be around such individuals. For more of my writings from the past, I would encourage you to click on the link at the top of this paragraph to read more about the Catholic Priesthood.
To conclude today’s post, below are short testimonies from fellow Catholics speaking on what the Catholic Priesthood means to them. If you would like to add your own short testimony, I encourage you to do so in the comment section at the bottom of this post.
“Priesthood means allowing God to lead you to where he needs you. It means having a strong enough faith and support system to truly trust fully and give yourself to the Lord in service of him and his church. We need more good, holy, strong men for this vocation. I’m proud if those who answer the call!” – Dena
“My first time [yesterday] attending an ordination mass. It was incredible! Like Jesus, they give up everything for us! To serve us and bring Jesus to the world! I think all priests should forever be in our prayers. We should continually give thanks to God for our priests and follow their example and give everything to God.” – Cindy
“The priesthood is the ultimate example of dying to one’s self a vocation whose motto is “I am Third”. For me they stand as a benchmark in my relationship with Christ. Am I being as compassionate in my relations as Father is with those he comes in contact with? Is my prayer life anywhere near where Fathers is? I learn so much about what I should be doing in my vocation of married life from watching Father in his vocation.” – Chris
“The Catholic priesthood means we have more workers in the vineyard to help us find or way to true happiness.” – Sandy
“Catholic priests give us the blessing of the sacraments and guidance. It makes sense that we call our priests “Father” because they shepherd us on our spiritual journey. I pray that we will always have priests available to say Mass, give us the sacraments, and guide us closer to Jesus.” – Helen
“As a convert I have a profound sense of gratitude for the priesthood, as I know decades of Christianity without a priest. I have both sides of the coin to compare. When I see a priest I see Christ, the visible reality of living out our vocations. In Holy Communion, in confession, in confirmation and the rest of the sacraments there are my brothers in Christ being Christ for me and ministering to me. In laying down their lives for the sake of the flock they not only provide a holy example, but strengthen my resolve in my vocation and my pursuit of holiness.” – Dave
“Catholic Priesthood means that our Catholic tradition will be carried on by good and godly men…who ascribe to be true followers of Christ. In a time when there are so many assailants to our faith.” – Kathy
“No Priests means no Eucharist and no Sacrament of Reconciliation or other Sacraments. Our salvation depends on them.” – David
“I used to be very critical of priests. I have since, through grace, come to see them as super heroes. Not without human faults, but heroically living out a vocation that is countercultural and contains challenges I will never know. I marvel at their gift of self and hope to imitate them through my own vocation of motherhood.” – Amanda
“Through the Catholic priesthood, I am able to receive the Sacraments instituted by Christ, especially the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation. Catholic priests show an intimate love of Jesus, and through their humanity show that we are all able to have this relationship with our Lord. The priesthood relationship with the members of the church is a living example of the love we should all have for our family.” – Mike
“To me the priesthood means Christ representatives on earth who are able to sanctify the people of God through the power of the sacraments. As our shepherds they radiate the goodness, mercy, and love of God. And they bring us the greatest gift ever Jesus in the Eucharist! I am eternally grateful for all the men who have answered the Lord’s call and have given their Fiat!” – Nicole
St. John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests…Pray for our Priests.
This blog post is dedicated to Fr. Sheunesu Bowora, Fr. Daniel Connealy, Fr. Ryan Lee, Fr. David Loeffler, and all the other priests who were ordained this year in the Universal Church, including Fr. Mark Bristol.
Categories: Catholic Priesthood, Diocese of Phoenix
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The priesthood is a distinctive mark of the holiness of the Catholic Church. No other church or denomination can claim holiness in this way. As such, the priesthood is a reminder that Jesus Christ remains truly present in the Catholic Church.
When I am at mass and the priest is consecrating the host I will often close my eyes and imagine that Jesus is there holding that host as he surrounded the Apostles at the Last Supper. Our priests are the physical manifestation of Christ in that moment. The gifts we receive through the Eucharist begin with the hands of our priests. What a beautiful moment for us as Catholics. May God bless these men on their new spiritual journeys and those called to the Supper of the Lamb.
The number of new priests being ordained and in the pipeline, is nowhere near enough to replace those that are retiring. Every parish in my part of Phoenix has at least one international priest from the Philippines, Africa, or the like. They are all dreadfully overworked and I fear that in a few short years, this diocese will be forced to start closing and merging parishes like other areas of the US have been forced to. There is no “vocation boom”.
That’s an interesting observation. We shall see…