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May they be true pastors of souls

Archbishop Wenski's homily at priesthood ordination 2019

As the deacons sit around the sanctuary, Archbishop Thomas Wenski preaches his homily before a standing-room only St. Mary Cathedral, where nearly 1,000 people witnessed the joyous, tradition-filled Mass of ordination for five new priests for the Archdiocese of Miami, May 11, 2019.

Photographer: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO | FC

As the deacons sit around the sanctuary, Archbishop Thomas Wenski preaches his homily before a standing-room only St. Mary Cathedral, where nearly 1,000 people witnessed the joyous, tradition-filled Mass of ordination for five new priests for the Archdiocese of Miami, May 11, 2019.

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Archbishop Thomas Wenski preached this homily at the ordination of five men as priests of the Archdiocese of Miami, May 11, 2019, at St. Mary Cathedral, Miami.

Today, we give God thanks for these five men whom, by the laying of hands, I will shortly ordain to the priesthood of the New Covenant. Also, I offer a special word of gratitude for their parents, their families and friends who have supported them on their vocational journey.

Una palabra a los padres y a las familias de estos hombres: La Iglesia está muy agradecida a ustedes por su generosidad, por haberlos animado para que pudieran responder a esta vocación sacerdotal en la cual servirán a Cristo, maestro, sacerdote y pastor. Y no se preocupen por sus hijos: las oraciones y la amistad de sus nuevos hermanos sacerdotes les van a servir de amparo.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preaches his homily before a standing-room only St. Mary Cathedral, where nearly 1,000 people witnessed the joyous, tradition-filled Mass of ordination for five new priests for the Archdiocese of Miami, May 11, 2019.

Photographer: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preaches his homily before a standing-room only St. Mary Cathedral, where nearly 1,000 people witnessed the joyous, tradition-filled Mass of ordination for five new priests for the Archdiocese of Miami, May 11, 2019.

I also wish to thank sincerely all those who were involved in their formation: especially, Father Elvis Gonzalez, their vocation director, as well as the rectors and faculties of our seminaries who join us today.

The ordination of these men also inspires great joy among all the people of this archdiocese – even as we pray for God to send us more laborers for this vineyard.

We thank God for their “yes” given to God so generously and uncompromisingly today amid this beautiful assembly of God’s people in this Cathedral Church.

Through their pastoral ministry and their daily celebrations of the Eucharist, these men are to help the people entrusted to their care become truly alive in Christ: by healing hearts broken by sin and despair, they bring God’s people to a new hope.

By their detachment from material comforts and signs of status, by their readiness to obediently be available wherever the bishop may send them, and by their chaste celibacy they will continue to grow in the freedom to be truly “men for others.”

When Jesus sent his disciples into the villages and hamlets of Galilee, he told them: “Proclaim the Kingdom of God... Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.” What a job description! It is our job description as well. For a priest is to “cure the sick”; that is, to attend to the ill and the injured, healing their isolation with a visit and bringing courage to those who are weak; a priest is to raise the dead, that is, to restore hope to those deadened by discouragement and defeat; a priest is to cleanse lepers, that is to befriend the outsider, to extend the hand of friendship to the marginalized and rejected; a priest is to drive out demons, by helping people deal with the various addictions that affect them and by not failing to address any personal demons that may threaten the integrity of his commitment.

As Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for the troubled and the abandoned, those who seem like sheep without a shepherd, so too is a priest’s heart moved. Pastoral charity – and not the desire for fame or fortune – should motivate the priest in his ministry. Founded on the Eucharist, pastoral charity leads a priest to give of his time generously – even when people demand of him his time at inopportune moments; pastoral charity demands a zeal for souls so that no one is considered beyond reach, beyond hope.

Father Martin Muñoz gives his first blessing to Archbishop Thomas Wenski at the conclusion of the ordination Mass.

Photographer: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO | FC

Father Martin Muñoz gives his first blessing to Archbishop Thomas Wenski at the conclusion of the ordination Mass.

The demands of the ministry with its inevitable trials and disappointments and the fact that we carry the “treasure” of the Gospel in “earthen vessels” can sometimes tempt us to give into discouragement. We are always at risk of becoming “of” the world, adopting its mentality, its way of thinking and living “that can pollute even the Church, that in fact does pollute her, thereby requiring constant vigilance and purification.” (Benedict XVI)

Cuando sus nombres fueron llamados, ustedes respondieron “Presente”. Así como Jesús fue enviado por el Padre y él a su vez envió a los Apóstoles al mundo, ustedes, por su ordenación como presbíteros, son enviados a predicar el Evangelio, a sostener el pueblo de Dios, y a celebrar la liturgia, sobre todo, el sacrificio del Señor.

Como sacerdotes, la Eucaristía, que ustedes han de celebrar diariamente – es el centro de su vida sacerdotal. A través de sus palabras, especialmente las palabras de consagración, invitan a Jesús a la asamblea de oración. Diariamente están llamados a estar ante su presencia. Su vida entera, entonces, debe estar ante su presencia. Deben fijar sus miradas en Él y estar ahí para Él. Deben vivir con sus miradas fijas en Él para poder mantener el mundo abierto para Dios. Ciertamente, la liturgia es la obligación principal de un sacerdote – y esto significa que la oración debe ser una realidad primordial en sus vidas, para que la celebración de la Misa o de los sacramentos sea un reflejo de su propia participación interior.

Talè konsa, m ap mete men m sou tèt 5 gason sa yo; Epi, m ap sakre yo pè. Lè sa a, m ap mande Bondye vide yon lòt fwa nan fon kè yo chak Lespri ki fè moun vin sen yo.

Konsa, Bondye pral remèt nan men yo chak travay ede evèk yo.

Menm jan lè Jezi te voye mesaje l yo, Bondye te bay yo asosye, pou ede yo montre lòt moun sa lafwa di n pou Bon Nouvèl la te kapab rive nan denyè bout tè a, konsa tou, Bondye pral mete sèvitè sa yo ki la devan mwen nan wòl prèt pou sèvis tout rès pèp Bondye a.

Yo reponn Granmèt la ak yon “wi” kare-bare, yon “wi” konsekan, yo di Granmèt la: men mwen. Epi, Granmèt la pral fè yo tounen kom yon zouti vivan pou sèvis li.

N ap lapriyè Bondye pou konpòtman yo kom pè ankouraje toout moun, pou yo kondi tet yo san repwòch. Se pou yo travay men nan men ak mwen menm ak lòt evèk yo, pou yo pote bay tout moun ki sou tè a Bon Nouvèl Jezi Kri a. Se pou yo toujou swiv egzamp Jezi li menm ki se bon gadyen an. Renòl, tande byen: Bondye ap mete w apa pou sèvis li – epi, sonje sab yen, se nan rann sèvis sa nèt alea w a jwenn kè kontan ak kè poze.

As we pray for them today, we must continue to pray for them and all our priests each day – even as they pray for us. This is the best way we can support them in the daily living out of that “yes” through which they have come to share in the very mission of Christ — sowing the seed of his Word, dispensing his Divine Mercy in the Sacrament of Penance, and nourishing the faithful at the table of His Body and Blood. May they be true pastors of souls – feeding the sheep and not feeding off the sheep. 

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