|6/6/2011 1:35:00 PM|
From diverse backgrounds, four called to serve
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.
|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.|
|Archbishop John Vlazny lays hands on Jesus Angelo Te and invokes the Holy Spirit.|
|Mark Gikenyi and O. Bryce McProud are followed by Jesus Angelo Te and Joseph Nhat Hoang Dang during procession to start ordination Mass.|
|Wide age range noted in US ordinations|
|WASHINGTON — A deaf man, escapees from Vietnam, grandfathers, military veterans, and ministers who converted from other religions are among the men being ordained to the priesthood in the U.S. 2011.|
According to a survey taken by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops, men ordained range in age from 25 to 63. Almost 10 percent of the new priests have military experience.
This month marks 60 years since Pope Benedict, then Joseph Ratzinger, was ordained alongside his brother Georg.
Ninety-four percent of the ordination class of 2011 report some full time work experience before entering the seminary.
More than 90 percent of the class were baptized Catholic as infants, but 8 percent of this year’s ordinands converted to Catholicism as adults.
While 80 percent of the ordinands are under 40 years of age, 1 percent is over 60.
Sixty-nine percent are of Caucasian background; 15 percent, Latino; 10 percent are Asian/Pacific Islander, Hawaiian; and five percent, African-American. While Asian/Pacific islanders constitute 4 percent of U.S. Catholics, they make up 10 percent of ordinands who responded to the survey.
Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, noted that, along with their education and work experience, 71percent of the Class of 2011 report they were altar servers.
“This seems to indicate that the involvement of youth in the Church’s activities, especially the liturgy, has a positive impact for their choice of a vocation,” Archbishop Carlson said.
"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.