Newly ordained priests O. Bryce McProud, Joseph Nhat Hoang Dang, Jesus  Angelo Te and Mark Gikenyi acknowledge the applause and consent of the assembly during their ordination to the priesthood.
Newly ordained priests O. Bryce McProud, Joseph Nhat Hoang Dang, Jesus  Angelo Te and Mark Gikenyi acknowledge the applause and consent of the assembly during their ordination to the priesthood.
While Portlanders outside St. Mary Cathedral shopped, jogged and ate their way through the warmest spring day to date, four men inside committed themselves to serve God and God's people via self denial.

"They are leaving behind their own personal ambitions of self-fulfilliment," Archbishop John Vlazny told the multi-ethnic crowd of 750 on hand June 4 to see the priesthood ordination of Mark Gikenyi, O. Bryce McProud Jesus Angelo Te and Joseph Nhat Hoang Dang.

The archbishop told the new priests and the rest of the congregation that priesthood is an important job for the 21st century in western Oregon, a place he called "somewhat spiritually barren." The new priests, he explained, can help residents who have tried to live their lives without God and so feel empty.

"It does make great sense to become a priest," the archbishop said, urging the men to the joy of their calling show.

The orination class is diverse.

Father Gikenyi, 33, is from southwestern Kenya. For his master's of divinity degree project at Mount Angel Seminary, he wrote a paper titled, "Social Justice: the life and faith of a parish."  
Father McProud, 63, is a former Episcopalian priest as well as a husband, father and grandfather of two. He and Deanna have been married since 1970. He studied spiritual direction at the Benedictine Sisters' Shalom Prayer Center in the early 1990s. Many Eugene residents recall him as a friendly Episcopal priest there.  

Father Te, 34, is from The Philippines. He served a year as pastoral intern at St. Peter and St. Mark parishes in Eugene. He has served as a deacon at Christ the King Parish, Milwaukie.  

Father Dang, 45, was born in Vietnam. He is a member of the Domus Dei Clerical Society of Apostolic Life, which helps oversee the spiritual needs of Southeast Asian Catholics in western Oregon. He served as editor in chief of the Domus Dei website.  

Because two of the men had links to Eugene, two chartered buses made their way north for the ordination.

"It's very heartfelt," said JoAnn Durfee who with husband Dennis made the bus trip from St. Peter Parish in Eugene to attend their first ordination and set foot for the first time in St. Mary Cathedral.

The large crowd crackled into loud and sustained applause early during the rite when Father Kelly Vandehey, vocations director, pronounced the men worthy of ordination after inquiries among the people of God.

As part of the rite, the 75 priests in attendance walked past the kneeling new clergymen and blessed them. The choir invoked the Holy Spirit in Latin, singing "veni, Sancti Spiritus." The new priests then put on chasubles, the vestment of their role as celebrants of the Eucharist.

The archbishop anointed the hands of each man, and handed each the bread and wine, which they will now be able to transform into the real presence of Jesus. The new priests concelebrated the ordination Mass and the next day said first Masses in churches around western Oregon.