Newly Ordained Priests Will Continue Legacy of “Manifesting the Kingdom”
For 2,000 years, priests in every generation have taken up the call that Jesus made to his Apostles – the first priests – at the Last Supper: “Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19). Every time they celebrate the Eucharist and preach the Gospel, and each time they administer the sacraments, priests make Jesus present to their people, helping to fulfill the risen Christ’s promise that “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).
On Saturday, June 21, during a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, I will be privileged to ordain the seven newest priests of the Archdiocese of Washington: Deacon Timothy Daniel, Deacon Anthony D’Souza, Deacon Kenneth Gill; Deacon Cezary Kozubek, Deacon Charles Luckett, Deacon Aaron Qureshi, and Deacon Christopher Seith.
Like all of the archdiocese’s 80 seminarians, these men stepping forward to be ordained come from different backgrounds, but they share a call to serve as icons of Jesus, embodying his way of life and making him visible to the flock entrusted to their care. Acting in the person of Christ, the head and shepherd, as priests they will authoritatively proclaim his Word, repeat his acts of forgiveness and his offer of salvation, showing his loving concern to the point of a total gift of self for the flock.
In this, the Archdiocese of Washington’s 75th anniversary year, our newest priests will build on the foundation of the priests who have faithfully served our spiritual family, making real our jubilee theme of “Manifesting the Kingdom.” Through the years, the priests of this archdiocesan Church have brought Christ’s love and hope to people in all stages of their lives. Our new priests can look to and learn from their brother priests, who can share insights into the archdiocese’s living history and the blessings and challenges of living the priestly vocation in our parishes.
The ordination class of 2014 can also look to the example of Saint John Paul II. Fittingly, our archdiocesan seminary is named for this inspiring man who traveled to 130 different countries to bring Christ and his Gospel message to the world. Saint John Paul’s total self-giving offers an example to today’s priests and seminarians. Like him, a priest has to see himself as a servant of God’s people, as a servant of Jesus Christ in his Church, as one configured to Christ as head of that body, but for the service of that body.
Likewise, Pope Francis has encouraged priests to serve as missionaries, opening the doors of their hearts and the doors of their churches to their people. In his apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, our Holy Father explains that “a true missionary, who never ceases to be a disciple, knows that Jesus walks with him, speaks to him, breathes with him, works with him” (Evangelii Gaudium, 266). Additionally, in ordaining 10 new priests in Rome this spring, the Pope encouraged them to “carry out the ministry of Christ the priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns, but to those of Jesus Christ.”
Now our newest priests of the Church of Washington will take up this calling. This is their moment, this is their time, to be priests of the New Evangelization, and help people deepen their faith, grow confident in its truth, and share it with a world that needs the saving love of Christ.
In carrying out that work, these good men know they do not walk alone. They walk with Christ, and with you, as demonstrated by the people who participated in Eucharistic Adoration at many of our parishes to pray for these new priests, who will make “Manifesting the Kingdom” their work and ours.