First, the Oblate Ordination:
Fr. John Luong, OMV was born in the US state of Michigan, and now serves as an Associate Pastor at St. Mary Catholic Church, in Alton, Il. He was ordained to the Priesthood if Jesus Christ by His Excellency, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles on August 4th, 2012 and celebrated his first Mass the following day, August 5th, the anniversary of the death of the founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, Venerable Pio Bruno Lanteri.
|Fr. John Blesses the Archbishop|
|Archbishop Gomez, Fr. John, and his parents|
|All clergy, and one brother|
|The Oblates present for the ordination|
|The Imposition of Hands|
Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez's Homily at Fr. John Luong OMV's Ordination:
As I said before, this is a beautiful moment in the life of this parish, in the life of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, and in the life of a great archdiocese. And it is a chance for all of us to give thanks to God for the holy priesthood of Jesus Christ.
We have just read a beautiful passage from the Gospel of John which describes the morning after the first Easter, after the Resurrection. The dialogue between St. Peter and our Lord was touching for us all. But in a special way, our Lord is speaking to you today, Deacon John. We hear Jesus ask, “Do you love me more than these?” He speaks these words to Peter; he speaks them to you too. You are about to enter, in a deep and perfect way, into the apostolic ministry of St. Peter and the Apostles. My brother, in this sacrament you are about to receive, you will give the same answer that Peter gave that morning by the sea. You will say to him, “Lord you know everything; You know that I love you.”
You, and all of us can also, say that we are trying to love Jesus, that great giver of gifts. With your heart open in love and with a great generosity of the Spirit you, Deacon John, have really decided to be one of the family to follow Jesus: to live only for His sake and for the sake of His Gospel. This is, my brothers and sisters, the essence of the priestly vocation. Each of us is called here to follow Jesus Christ and to serve the mission of His Church and His Kingdom. But only a few are called to be His holy priests, to be fathers of God’s people, to be shepherds to His flock, and sharers in the high priesthood of Jesus Christ.
As we hear in our first reading today from the prophet Jeremiah: Before the Lord formed you in your mother’s womb, our Lord dedicated you for this assignment. This is something I will never stop wondering: how in God’s plan of salvation there is a path for each one of us. What a grace and privilege it is to be a child of God. To know that the creator of Heaven and Earth has a plan for each one of us. Isn’t that beautiful? That God has a plan for all of us? -but today in a special way for Deacon John. A plan that was in the mind of God even before you were born. No one takes this honor upon himself but is given it by God, St. Paul says in today’s reading.
You have not been called to ordination because you are perfect, because you are already holy, or even because you have some kind of ability to preach of Him. It is because the Lord knows you are His. And the Lord knows that you love Him and want to serve Him. This Holy Lord will send you forth, just as He has sent them for 2000 years. And He will give you the solemn command that He gave to Peter and to all priests: If you love me, feed my sheep, tend to my sheep. Our Lord is calling you to be a priest to lead God’s people to the Word of Life and the Bread of Life: to the Gospel and the Holy Eucharist. This is the mystery of the priesthood, this is the mystery of your priesthood in persona Christi [Latin: in the person of Christ.] Here is you, here is Him, Jesus Christ. You alone, as priest, can become Jesus Christ in ministry: grant His forgiveness and to give His lambs His Body and Blood. How can there be any greater mission than to share God’s bounty with His family or to grow His Kingdom on Earth?
My dear brother, stay close to Jesus Christ: Walk with Him in prayer, seek to be more like Him every day through your contact with Him in the Scriptures and in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Stay true to His commandments and the duties he entrusts to you that your ministry will be a source of your sanctification. If you practice your duties with deep devotion and faithfulness your love for Jesus Christ will grow. Your friendship with Him will become your mission. It will grow in you a deeper identification with Jesus Christ, and His identity of mission in which you share.
One final thing, Deacon John. As you know, the good shepherd laid down His life for His flock, but he did not give away His flock; this is a very important point, it is not your flock, it is His. The love you are called to is a selfless love, a sacrificial love. The Love that seeks not its own but rather the glory of God’s name and His Kingdom. This is especially for all of His priests. We are to strive that our priesthood reflect the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Today let us also especially pray for all priests that they become a witness to the presence of Christ so that we priests can be servants of God and the people of God in the universal Church. So, Deacon John, we are all praying for you as you are about to be entrusted with this great mission of the salvation of souls. We pray that you will be a holy priest who sanctifies others by your words and by your actions. Today we ask the intercession of the venerable Father Bruno Lanteri [founder of the order of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary] as we appoint you as a new priest of his Oblates of the Virgin Mary. And may our Lady of the Angels, the mother of priests, help us all grow in holiness that there may be more vocations so that many more may join Deacon John in this great adventure of the priesthood, of being holy priests of Jesus Christ.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
(FYI: Archbishop Gomez already knew Fr. John from his layman days)
Second, the Norbertine Ordination:
|Fr Maximilian R of Bishop Flores|
Fr. Maximilian Okapal, O.Praem, is now a canon of St, Micheal's Abbey in Orange County, California, and was ordained to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ June 23, 2012, the Eve of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. He was ordained by the Most Reverend Bishop Cirilo Flores, Coadjutor Bishop of San Diego. A Deacon was also ordained with him, but I can not remember his name.
Pray for our Priests!!!! May Mary's Blessing descend upon our beloved Shepards!