When this date rolls around, I usually say to myself:
“Well… I made it this far.”
Many priests observe the anniversary of their ordination at this time of year. It is a common time for ordinations, probably because Ember Days were common times for ordinations and Ember Days fall during the Pentecost Octave.
It is my anniversary of ordination today, 29 years ago, by St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica. That might make me a 2nd class relic.
It was the Feast of St. Philip Neri, 26 May and also Trinity Sunday. It was a perfect Roman May day.
I got up that morning, ate breakfast, said my prayers, and walked alone across town to the basilica, where I entered through the main doors with the rest of the crowd. After that, however, I went to the right, to the nave near the Pietà, where we ordinands vested and waited for the Holy Father. My family members came separately from a different part of town. They had special tickets which brought them very close to the altar. St. Theresa of Calcutta was there, just in front of where my folks sat.
Since we were 60 in number, and from many countries, the basilica was absolutely jammed with people from all over the world who had come for the ordinations, probably some 50k.
You have not experienced the Litany of Saints until you have heard it sung by that many people in a space like that.
I arranged for my grandmother, a convert to Catholicism in her 80’s, to receive Communion from the Holy Father.
I often wonder what happened to the other men with whom I was ordained. I only knew a few of them personally, since I had been at the Lateran University with them.
It was the first year that the Iron Curtain was raised a bit. A few men were permitted out Romania to come to Rome to be ordained by the Pope. There were some Opus Dei guys ordained with us. Another of the group was John Corapi of the SOLT group, though I didn’t know him at the time. Pray for him. One priest was ordained for the Archdiocese of Southwark in England. I know that one fellow is now a bishop in Haiti.
I intend to reach out to these men for next years 30th.
This day, especially when I review some of these videos and think about what has happened between then and now, underscores the fact that God doesn’t choose men who are worthy. He chooses those whom it pleases Him to choose.
The sermon from the Mass. The sermon is in Italian and the text is HERE.
I really miss him.
Here are some excerpts from the broadcast of the ordination, which was on national television in Italy. We have the interrogation, litany and the prayer (form).
Imposition of hands.