Yesterday, Saturday, June 1st, beginning at 10:00 am the Diocese of Greensburg called three young men to the priesthood and celebrated their ordinations at the hands of Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt, the Diocesan Bishop. This was a grand occasion for the simple reason that we have not celebrated a priestly ordination in about nine years. It was also a grand occasion because these three men offer not only new blood but great hope and many blessings for our diocesan Church. Those ordained yesterday were Father Tyler Bandura, Father Matthew Morelli and Father Daniel Ulishney. Tyler had studied in Baltimore, and Matt and Dan just finished up at Theological College in Washington after spending four years at the North American College in Rome. Joining Bishop Brandt at the ceremony was Bishop Lawrence Persico, the Bishop of Erie and one of our former diocesan priests and Archabbot Douglas Nowicki of Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe. Joining them were the priests of the diocese, friends, teachers and classmates of the newly ordained, and family and friends.
The ordination ceremony was beautiful, the music outstanding, the prayerfulness evident, and the brevity non existent (it was two hours and forty minutes). But it was worth it.
After the bishop imposes hands on the head of each ordinandi, which is the actual moment of ordination, the priests present come to each man and in silence share the priesthood through the "laying on of hands". This is always a very moving moment. In the past I have simply prayed silently, but yesterday, for some reason, I found myself tearing up a bit. The power and beauty of priesthood, despite the challenges that confront us, is indeed a grace filled moment. A short time later the priests present offer a greeting of peace and congratulations. I told each of them to "be a good priest".
Later that day these men received their first priestly assignments, which, along with all of the other clergy changes, were forwarded to us by email. The assignments that they received are good but definitely challenging. Pray for them, their families in this period of celebration, and the people that they will begin to serve.