Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A day to remember

     While today in Western Pennsylvania is warm and rainy and dreary, forty-two years ago the day dawned bright and sunny and a bit cool.  It was then, on May 5, 1973, that the late Bishop William G. Connare ordained four men for the priesthood in the Diocese of Greensburg at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in the city of Greensburg.  Those ordained that day were V. Paul Fitzmaurice, Peter L. Peretti, Roger Statnick and yours truly, Leonard Stoviak.  All of us, by the way, are still in active ministry serving the People of God in the Diocese of Greensburg (a minor miracle in this day and age).  I recall being very nervous as we began that trek to the altar, and at the same time feeling great peace and joy.  A special joy was that my dad had been chosen to do one of the readings, and I was very proud.  Mom, dad and Janie sat in the front pew, along with the other parents, and their pride was obvious. 

    The ordination was a blur of activity, but two things stood out for me - the powerful prayers of the community over us as the Litany of the Saints was sung by all and the quiet power of the imposition of hands by Bishop Connare.

     My priesthood has been a blessing for me and I hope a source of blessing for the countless people that I have had the honor to know and serve.  Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has composed a prayer for the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy in which he says:

" ... You willed that your ministers
would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion
for those [who come to them]:
let everyone who approaches them feel
sought after,
and forgiven by God."
     In my years of ministry, and in my weakness, I hope that those whose lives I have touched feel sought after, loved and forgiven by God."  God is indeed very gracious to us all.

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