May 13 marked a joyous occasion for the Archdiocese of Denver as eight men were ordained to the priesthood.
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila presided over the ordination Mass at a packed Cathedral, full of friends and family of the ordinandi. It was an event made all the more significant as it fell on the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Mary at Fatima.
From St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Fathers Peter Wojda, Shaun Galvin, John Mrozek, Daniel Ciucci, Nicholas Larkin and Daniel Eusterman joined the ranks of hundreds of men who have come before them. Additionally, Father Francesco Basso of Redemptoris Mater Missionary Seminary and Father Boguslaw Rebacz, who studied at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Krakow, Poland, were, too, ordained priests.
“It is a tremendous gift to God and our Church that these men have said ‘yes’ to God’s call,” Archbishop Aquila said during his homily.
Speaking of Mary’s example, Archbishop Aquila urged the men to stay rooted in the virtues of humility, patience and charity in their own priesthood.
Newly ordained priests give Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila their first blessing after their ordination as priests at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on May 13, 2017, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/for Denver Catholic)
“My dearest sons, today as you are ordained as priests, you too must be rooted in those virtues,” he said. “You must have a docile heart to receiving them; the same docility as the heart of Mary.”
He referenced the day’s Gospel reading from the book of John, in which Jesus asks Simon Peter, “Do you love me?” He challenged the men – and the entire congregation – to consider the answer to that question in their own hearts.
“It is important for you, my sons, to hear that question in your own hearts. It is important for every one of us here to hear that question in our own hearts: ‘Do you love me?’ How does our heart respond?” Archbishop Aquila submitted.
The new priests were also reminded that their priesthood is a gift, and should not be viewed as something they earned.
“You have not earned this, you have not merited this, it is a gift from God,” Archbishop Aquila told them.
With the ordination falling on the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, Archbishop Aquila suggested the men heed the message of Our Lady of Fatima and carry it into their priesthood, especially with regards to the sacrament of reconciliation.
An aerial shot of the Cathedral Basilica during the ordination on May 13. The men lie prostrate before the altar before the laying on of the hands. (Photo by Andrew Wright/Denver Catholic)
“Today, as we celebrate Our Lady of Fatima, we are reminded of her tenderness and mercy,” he said. “Mary and Fatima reminded the young children, two of whom are canonized today, that confession is a sacrament of mercy, and we must confess with joy and trust. Let those words penetrate your heart.”
In a surprise announcement, Archbishop Aquila also declared that on Oct. 13, he will be consecrating the Archdiocese of Denver to Our Lady of Fatima.
“The date was chosen to honor the 100th anniversary of Fatima, and will promote unity throughout the archdiocese,” he explained. “It will be the anniversary of the miracle of the sun, witnessed by tens of thousands who came to believe and trust in the miracle of Fatima.”
If you missed the ordination, it can be viewed in full at archden.org/livestream.