Saturday, May 5, 2012

39 years ago

     It was a cool but sunny day.  May 5, 1973, saw four men come before their bishop at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg, Pennsylvania for the Sacrament of Holy Orders as they were ordained to the priesthood.  The Bishop was William G. Connare, the second bishop of the diocese, and the new priests were V. Paul Fitzmaurice, Peter L. Peretti, Roger A. Statnick and yours truly, Leonard W. Stoviak.  The ceremony began at 10:00 am, and it was beautiful.  My Dad did one of the readings [see picture below] (when the planners called to see if Mom and Dad or Mom or Dad would take a role in the ceremony, Mom volunteered Dad - who did fine.)  I remember little of the ceremony except for the presence of God in that place and among God's People.  I do remember the humbling and yet uplifting experience of lying prostrate on the floor while the entire congregation prays the Litany of the Saints over you (I included a picture of us before the Altar).  I also remember the quiet "laying on of hands" when the bishop placed his hands on our heads as an act of setting aside, of consecration.  That is followed by each priest present sharing with the bishop their priesthood by "laying on of hands". (I could not find a picture of Bishop Connare, but I did find one of then Monsignor Norbert Gaughan, who later became our Auxiliary Bishop and then Diocesan Bishop of Gary, Indiana). 

     The ordination day focuses a great deal upon you.  The priesthood that ordination confers is focused upon others - love and service given freely in a life that was set aside for others.  I have only been able to do that for these thirty-nine years because of the love and call of God, and with the love and support of the Church ... family and friends and most especially those whom I have been honored to serve.  I have truly been blessed.

Happy Anniversary to Paul, Pete and Roger
who I shared this ordination moment with
and priesthood in the
Diocese of Greensburg
and to all of my other classmates
of other dioceses who share this anniversary.

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