6/23/2006 Diocese of Baker ordains two priests: hermit, Mexican native
BAKER CITY - Aztec dancers, prayers in both Spanish and English, and Latin Chant Mass responses intermingled in a multi-lingual celebration of the ordination to the priesthood of two men in Baker City this past weekend.
Bishop Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Baker ordained Deacon Luis Manuel Flores-Alva and Hierodeacon Arsenius to the priesthood June 17 at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral here.
The ordination was of historic proportions. In the 103-year history of the diocese, only once before has there been a double ordination for and in the diocese. That was under Bishop Joseph McGrath in 1943.
This ordination is noteworthy, too, for the unique characteristics of the ordinands.
Father Flores, from a town near Mexico City, considers himself a missionary to the Hispanic community of the Diocese of Baker. His parents traveled from Mexico to attend the ordination. Father Flores is assigned to serve at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Bend, as parochial vicar with Father Joe Reinig.
Father Arsenius, who lives in a secluded monastery near La Pine, has been a monk for more than 25 years, and professed vows as a hermit in 2001. Bishop Vasa has said that Father Arsenius will not be assigned to a parish, but will continue to live as a hermit and offer Mass for the salvation of souls daily at the Monastery of Annunciation Hermitage.
Saturday's ordination drew local Baker City parishioners, as well as more than 150 of the faithful from other parishes of the diocese.
Gail Coon, choir director from St. Francis of AssisiParish in Bend, led Gregorian chant responses with organ accompaniment by Donna Nowak, also from Bend. The Hispanic choir from Our Lady of Angels Parish in Hermiston, under the direction of Vicente TreviĆ±o, provided the entrance, recessional, and Communion hymns, and an Aztec dance troupe in peacock headdresses led the entrance and offertory processions. Father Flores, prior to his recent transfer to St. Francis of Assisi, served the Hermiston parish as a deacon, and he returned there Saturday evening to celebrate his Mass of Thanksgiving.
All levels of Holy Orders were represented at the Mass. Thirteen priests concelebrated with Bishop Vasa, assisted by three deacons. Laymen from various parts of the diocese who had been instituted as acolytes by Bishop Vasa last year also assisted, and two Benedictine monks served as miter and crosier bearers. Also in attendance were the Brigittine monks and the Hermit Sisters of Mary.