twenty seven years ago today on february 6, 1994, i presided at my first mass. it was at my home parish in seattle where i grew up– st paul. as i look at the pictures from that first mass, i can hardly believe how fast time flies. as i look at the pictures from that first mass, i realize that the four other priests present– frs. jerry, jaime, daryl, blanco– have all gone to their reward in heaven. may they all rest in peace.
i am thankful for all opportunities as a priest to celebrate God’s love in the sacraments over these years.
i served at the catholic student center in san marcos, tx from 1994-1999, i put up a sign in the sacristy that said, “celebrate this mass as if it were your first mass, your last mass, your only mass.” it was a reminder that each mass is like stepping into eternity– where past and future meet in a present moment and time is suspended. in that present moment, God blesses us in christ’s full and holy presence. it is a moment of the exchange of love and grace in word and sacrament.
when i am at mass at the ambo and altar, i feel this divine blessings for me and for all.
there are two quotes that i love about the ordained life. they represent two ends of the continuum of how the Spirit moves among us. both quotes are from jesuits.
teilhard de chardin said, “a priest stands on the border between heaven and earth and calls down the divine fire for the transformation of the world.” WOW! what an honor it is for me to be an instrument of the Spirit for the mysterious exchange of love, healing, mercy and grace.
in the second quote, pope francis said about himself as pope, “i am just a man who does what he can.” service in the call as an ordained minister ought to lived out with a big dose of humility. it is good to be down to earth.
as i primarily now help my mother, my priestly duties these days come in the form of sunday mass/confessions at christ our hope parish downtown as well as a few funeral masses and anointings of the sick. in its absence as i do not preside before an assembly regularly, my love for the eucharist has increased.
i look forward– God willing– to the next 27 years as a claretian priest. living it out, one day at a time.
so, please pray for me; i offer this prayer for all priests:
Gracious and loving God, we thank your for the gift of our priests.
Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.
Help our priests to be strong in their vocation.
Set their souls on fire with love for your people.
Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.
Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel.
Allow them to experience joy in their ministry.
Help them to become instruments of your divine grace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest. Amen.
( from https://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/prayer-for-priests )
Happy anniversary, Fr. Art!
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thanks s!! have a graced day
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Anytime Chardin gets quoted is a good day for me. Better Church because of you Fr. Art.