Last Saturday was a joyful day for the Archdiocese of Washington. Six men were ordained to the priesthood! An ordination celebration is always a blessing for the Church. After saying “yes” to God to His invitation to follow Him as his priests, giving up their own plans for what their lives may have looked like and conforming their own wills to the will of the Father, and persevering through the many years of seminary formation, that the day of their ordination to the priesthood is truly a joyful day!
As we heard in the Gospel today, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Especially in recent years, the Church has encouraged the faithful to pray for more vocations particularly to the priesthood. Knowing that we need more “laborers”, it’s important that we cultivate an environment where we can support men who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood. It’s hard enough to follow that path, but how even more challenging that can be today in the culture we live in.
One point during the ordination Mass, the newly ordained priests have their hands anointed with Chrism oil by the bishop. Just as Chrism oil is used during the Sacrament of Baptism to mark a new life in Christ, and likewise in the Sacrament of Confirmation, Chrism oil sealing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the newly ordained priest has his hands anointed with Chrism oil to consecrate them in his new priestly ministry. As his hands are being anointed, the bishop says, “The Father anointed our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus preserve you to sanctify the Christian people and to offer sacrifice to God.”
It is through the hands of the priest that bread and wine is changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Without the priest, there is no Eucharist. It is through the hands of the priest that our sins are forgiven. Without the priest, there is no opportunity to go to confession. It is through the hands of the priest that we can receive the Anointing of the Sick to give spiritual and physical strength during a time of illness and suffering.
We need priests, and thanks be to God we have six new ones for this local church. But still, “the harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Continue to pray that more men will respond to God’s call to the priesthood.
Father Adam Park grew up in the Washington, DC area. He discovered his vocation to the priesthood while on retreat during his senior year in high school. Being ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington, he has served in different assignments throughout the archdiocese.