10 men ordained priests for archdiocese

| Susan Klemond for The Catholic Spirit | May 25, 2013 | 0 Comments
Archbishop John Nienstedt ordained 10 men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on May 25 at the Cathedral of St. Paul. The men comprised the largest ordination class since 2005. From left, Deacons Leonard Andrie, John Drees, Spencer Howe, Luke Marquard, James Peterson, Andrew Brinkman, Joah Ellis, Andrew Jaspers, Brian Park and Andrew Stueve listen to Archbishop Nienstedt during his homily. (Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit)

Archbishop John Nienstedt ordained 10 men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on May 25 at the Cathedral of St. Paul. The men comprised the largest ordination class since 2005, when 15 men were ordained. From left, Deacons Leonard Andrie, John Drees, Spencer Howe, Luke Marquard, James Peterson, Andrew Brinkman, Joah Ellis, Andrew Jaspers, Brian Park and Andrew Stueve listen to Archbishop Nienstedt during his homily. (Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit)

Addressing the 10 men he was about to ordain priests May 25 at the Cathedral of St. Paul, Archbishop John Nienstedt told them to spend time with Christ so they would be well-prepared to serve his people.

Newly-ordained Father Spencer Howe greets Sister Rose Vu, a member of the Religious of the Good Shepherd, after the ordination Mass. (Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit)

Newly-ordained Father Spencer Howe greets Sister Rose Vu, a member of the Religious of the Good Shepherd, after the ordination Mass. (Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit)

“You will not be able to bring Christ to others unless you have first discovered him in your most personal prayer encounters and in your attentiveness [to him] in the Blessed Sacrament,” the archbishop told the men, who ranged in age from 26 to 40. “You will not be able to serve all people unless you spend time with him who came not to be served but to serve.”Making up the largest class since 2005, the ordinands filled the sanctuary as they stood side by side facing the altar at the start of the ordination rite.

“We haven’t seen double digits like this since 2005 when Archbishop Flynn ordained 15 priests,” Archbishop Nienstedt told the standing-room-only congregation during the nearly three-hour liturgy.

On fire with the Spirit

During the ordination rite after the homily, about 160 priests from the archdiocese and other dioceses came to the altar and prayed as they placed their hands on each ordinand’s head. The last to pray was Msgr. Stanley Srnec, who held on to a walker for balance as he placed one hand on the head of each of the 10 men.

Ordained in 1942, Msgr. Srnec said this year’s class is about the same size as his own. Having offered spiritual direction to one of the new priests, he said he is confident they are well prepared, eager and on fire with the Holy Spirit. “If they’re all the quality of the one I directed, I look forward to the work they’re going to do.”

Nashville Dominican Sister Mary Juliana said the new priests have a strong example in Pope Francis of what it means to be a priest.

“I think this is a great sign of hope for the Church,” said Sister Mary Juliana, who got to know newly ordained Father Brian Park because both attended Texas A&M University.

Theresa Diederichs of St. Augustine in St. Cloud was excited and happy for her newly ordained grandson, Father Joah Ellis, but not surprised.

“I never doubted he would be a priest; it is his calling,” said Diederichs, who added that she prayed to the Holy Spirit daily to guide Father Ellis in his vocation.  “I could just hug the daylights out of him. I’m so happy for him.”

Newly ordained Father Andrew Stueve said he was awed by the experience of the Mass. “During the laying on of hands I felt a great sense of the presbyterate connected,” he said. Being in a class of 10 is humbling, he added. “Each of them have great gifts and will be serving in the Church.”

The joy of the Lord and gratitude were on Father Park’s heart, he said, as he bestowed a blessing on family, friends and others who greeted him after the ordination. Looking ahead to his priesthood he said, “I want to be a holy, humble, faithful, fruitful, joyful priest.”

‘Love for the Lord’

Don and Sue Malafa got to know Fathers Andrew Brinkman and Spencer Howe when they served as seminarians at the couple’s parish, St. Stephen in Anoka.

The new priests should just keep doing what they’ve been doing, Don said. “They are such vibrant Christians,” Sue added. “Their love for the Lord shows a love of people.”After the ordination, Father Michael Miller, pastor of St. Michael in Stillwater, said it had been a “great day, a powerful day.” In addition to the ordination itself, he appreciated the music of the liturgy, which included Gregorian chant and a piece by Father Francis Missia, a professor of music and Gregorian chant at St. Paul Seminary during the first half of the 20th century.

“Every time you can see the Church is alive and young, it renews everyone’s hope to see that God continues to follow the line of the apostles,” he said.

Before that line was continued through Archbishop Nienstedt’s ordination of the 10 men, he gave them one last instruction: “Trust Jesus, love Jesus, cling ever to Jesus.”

Archbishop John Nienstedt addresss the men during his homily. (Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit)

Archbishop Nienstedt addresses the men during his homily. (Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit)

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