Fathers Paolo Dayto and Martin Tavares Hernandez, right before ordination.
Jon DeBellis and Clarice Keating
Archbishop Alexander Sample ordained four men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Portland today at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Those ordained were Fathers Francisco Bringuela, Moises Leal Gonzalez, Martin Tavares Hernandez, and Julio Cesar Torres Montejo.
Friends, family and members of the priests' Catholic community filled the Cathedral. As of July 1, the four men will begin their service as priests in parishes across the archdiocese.
An exciting topic of discussion before the ordination rite was where the priests will celebrate their first Mass, said Archbishop Alexander Sample.
“They will be so excited and nervous and sweaty and filled with joy,” said the archbishop.
Priests anticipate this important milestone, he said, because the Eucharist is the heart of priestly ministry.
“In a few moments I will ask, ‘Do you resolve to celebrate faithfully and reverently, in accord with the Church’s tradition, the mysteries of Christ, especially the sacrifice of the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation, for the glory of God and the sanctification of the Christian people?’” said the archbishop.
The elect make this promise because it is in the Eucharist that a priest learns to give of himself every day, forming him in how he will live his life and minister to his flock.
Approximately 40 supporters traveled from St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Parish in Astoria to support Father Tavares Hernandez. He served at the coastal church during his pastoral year as a transitional deacon. Parishioners say his open, loving and happy spirit has endeared him to the community.
“He’s become a part of our parish family,” said parishioner Toni Mitchum.
Emelita Johnston also traveled from Astoria. She and other daily Mass attendees grew close with the young priest after it became tradition to take him out to breakfast following the morning liturgy.
Dozens of Filipino Catholics came to support Father Bringuela, the only priest ordained who hails from the Philippines. Among the supporters were Thess Zaragoza, Merlie Hoffarber, Maryann Gaviola and Tess Pimentel, who traveled from Salem, Sherwood and other areas near Portland.
Father Bringuela’s homilies are filled with the Holy Spirit, Gaviola said.
Mary Ann Perlot and Suzanne Maschler were among a large group from St. John the Apostle Church in Oregon City who came to see Father Torres Montejo be ordained.
Perlot has hosted many of the seminarians who serve at her parish, some of whom come from other countries and tend to get homesick at times.
“Whenever they need a place to come where they feel at home, they’re always welcome,” Perlot said. “They know they can come raid the refrigerator anytime.”
Maschler said it was apparent from Father Torres Montejo's service at St. John the Apostle that the priest is a natural teacher. In fact, at least 25 students from St. John the Apostle School lined the pews of the Cathedral today.
Friends and family of Father Leal Gonzalez made the trek from California. The priest’s younger sister, Augustina Leal, of Los Banos, said her brother constantly “played Mass” as a young boy.
“He’s very active and very compassionate,” his sister said. “I always knew he’d become a priest.”
Leal was joined by longtime family friends Teresa Hernandez and Irene Hernandez, from Orange County, and Sister Rosa Hernandez, a Missionary Guadalupean Sister of the Holy Spirit.
With three out of the four new priests for the archdiocese being Hispanic, and all four being foreign-born, the Archdiocese of Portland's group of ordinands follows a trend across the country according to a recent report.
The Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate gathered data for “The Class of 2014: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood,” concluding that 15 percent of this year's ordination class is Hispanic; 31 percent are foreign-born; 50 percent attended Catholic grade school; 41 percent attended Catholic high school; and 45 percent attended Catholic College. Median age for a new priest this year was 32.
CARA collects the data annually for the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. About 77 percent of the estimated 477 potential ordinands in 2014 responded to the study.
Father Torres Montejo was born in Cardenas, Tabasco, Mexico in 1982. He studied at the Major Seminary of Mary Immaculate earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2004 and a bachelor’s degree in theology in 2007. He earned a master of divinity from the Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., in 2014. He was ordained June 6 by Archbishop Alexander Sample. His service has included a pastoral year at St. John the Apostle Parish, Oregon City. He begins ministry as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Salem on July 1.
Father Leal Gonzalez was born in Jalisco, Mexico, in 1973. He earned a master of divinity degree from Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., in 2014. He has served at St. Mary, Corvallis, St. Alice, Springfield, St. Pius, Portland, St. Paul, Silverton, Sacred Heart, Medford, St. Luke, Woodburn, St. John, Yamhill, and San Martin de Porres Mission, Dayton. He was ordained by Archbishop Sample on June 6. He has also served at St. Adalbert Parish and San Rafael Archangel Parish both in Milwaukee, Wis. He begins ministry as parochial vicar at Ascension Parish in Southeast Portland on July 1.
Father Tavares Hernandez was born in 1967 in Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico. He studied at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2002. He earned a master of divinity degree from Mount Angel Seminary in 2014. He was ordained by Archbishop Sample on June 6 at St. Mary Cathedral. He has served at St. Alexander, Cornelius and St. Mary Star of the Sea, Astoria. He begins ministry as a prochial vicar at Sacred Heart, Medford on July 1.
Father Bringuela was born in 1983 in Irosin, Sorsogon, Philippines. He attended Christ the King Mission Seminary, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2004. He studied theology at Divine Word School of Theology in Tagaytay City, Philippines. He worked in campus ministry for a year at Divine Word College in Legazpi, Philippines. He entered Mount Angel Seminary, where he completed a master of divinity degree in 2014. He was ordained by Archbishop Sample on June 6 at St. Mary Cathedral. He has served at the Madeleine, Portland; St. Alice, Springfield and Queen of Peace, Salem. He begins ministry as a parochial vicar at St. Pius X, Portland, July 1.