What a wonderful weekend this is for our Diocese! This Saturday, May 26th, the following three men were ordained to the Priesthood for the Diocese of Toledo: Kyle Gase, Scott Perry and Andrew Wellmann. Ten years ago, Fr. Eric Culler, a son of Resurrection Parish, was ordained to the Priesthood. How time flies! On Sunday, June 3rd, Fr. Eric will celebrate the Mass at Resurrection Parish in honor of his 10thAnniversary of Priestly Ordination.
Next year, 2019, no one will be ordained to the Priesthood for our Diocese. Like myself, there are a number of other brother priests in our Diocese who have been eligible to request senior status (retirement), but who are choosing to stay on. I shudder when I think about the effect that it would have on our Diocese if a number of us elderly presently working priests were to be called to our eternal home during the next year or so! On a personal note, I live my life one day at a time. I credit my on-going energy and strength entirely to the grace of God for the sake of serving His People.
Let’s look at the role that we each have to provide the climate in which priestly vocations might develop and flourish. From His side, the Lord plants the number of seeds for priestly vocations that are needed for the Church in any given period of time. Acknowledging that priestly vocations come from the Lord, not one of us can pressure a man to pursue this calling.
The very nature of a vocation to the diocesan priesthood calls for the participation of each of us. Hopefully, each of us will continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood. Nothing significant happens without prayer. Prayer enables us to recognize and to be willing to embrace what the Lord wants for ourselves.
God often works in and through what we desire to lead us to where He wants us to be. Persistent prayer can lead men to desire the possibility of serving the Lord’s People as a priest. At the heart of priestly ministry are the opportunities to preach and teach the Word of God in accord with the Church’s tradition and to celebrate the Sacraments.
Our desires as individuals which are in accord with God’s commandments need to be supported by our families. How many priestly vocations have been suffocated due to a lack of support from a prospective candidate’s immediate family! How would your family feel and respond if a male member expressed an interest in serving as a priest?
As an extension of the support that a man receives from his immediate family are the interest, encouragement and support that a candidate receives from his home parish. Without the loving support of the people of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Delphos, I would never have made it to the Priesthood. Ultimately, I was loved into the Priesthood through the love and proactive care of specific expressions of the People of God!
In short, when a man is ordained to the Priesthood, this is a credit to many persons, including the candidate himself, his family, the parishes with which he identifies and persons in the larger community, all in response to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. May we each be eager to do our part to provide the kind of fertile, spiritual climate in which priestly vocations can develop and flourish!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor