One Step on the Journey

Image at Nashville CathedralIt was a very special occasion. Besides his attire, he looked no different than you or I. But he has been marked by God. As for me, it was all chance (or God’s design) that I happen to be there. If it hadn’t been for the announcement prior to the celebration, I would have never known.

Work had brought me to Tennessee, so I extended my trip to see a bit of Nashville, scheduling in Mass at the Cathedral of the Incarnation. I was excited to see what would be different. That’s one of the fun things about going to Mass when traveling, each church does things just a bit differently. Sometimes it’s the music and sometimes it’s the way you’re greeted or a special prayer that is said before Mass starts. I had no idea it would be such a special celebration. It was the first Sunday Mass of Father Andrew Bulso and only  the second in his ministry. He had been ordained just the Friday before.

Beautiful. Both the Mass and cathedral. I think what amazed me most, is that just three days prior, Fr. Bulso did not possess the ability that he had that day, to say Mass and to consecrate bread and wine into the Most Precious Body and Blood of Jesus. Through the imposition of hands and the anointing by the bishop, Fr. Bulso had become a priest marked by God. The priesthood is a gift Jesus gave the Church to continue His mission of bringing the kingdom of God to us. Although it was not my parish, it reminded me that tomorrow’s priests come from our church family of today. We may not know who they will be, but they are among us.

Holy Orders confers an indelible mark on the soul; it cannot be seen, but it changes the individual. While the preparation for the ordination does take years of study, it is a moment in time that changes the person. Much like the Last Supper for the Apostles, the time spent learning at the feet of Jesus prepared them for that night when He instituted both the Eucharist and Holy Orders. Jesus gave his priests  the ability to feed His Church, both in Word and deed. It continues down to our day, as each bishop ordains the priests, who may one day become bishops and repeat the process.

There are men in our parishes and dioceses who are called to this most unique vocation. So say a prayer they will be open to God’s call. Say a prayer for those who have answered and are in formation for the priesthood. And say a prayer of thanksgiving for priests  who celebrate Mass, from their first to their 20,000th and beyond; for each one is just one step on the journey of faith.

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