On May 14, the Feast of St. Matthias, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila ordained eight men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Denver.
The men ordained as priests of Jesus Christ were: Felipe Colombo da Silva, Father Joe Bui, Father Luis Guilherme da Silva Mendes, Father Micah Flores, Father Trevor Lontine, Father Miguel Mendoza, Father Sam Munson, and Father Michael Tran. Get know each of them here.
“Just as St. Matthias was called and chosen, so, too, have each one of you been called by the Father to serve in the ministry of Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Aquila told the men. “And as Matthias received the apostolic ministry through the hands of the apostles, so, too, from generation to generation are men ordained as priests and bishops through the laying on of hands. It is the apostolic witness that is passed on that we are to give and point to Jesus Christ.”
That day’s Gospel reading was taken from the Gospel of John and was as fitting for the occasion as it was providential. Jesus tells his disciples during the Last Supper, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you, and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.”
“The only way that fruit remains is if you, my dear sons, remain in Jesus Christ and attached to the vine of Jesus Christ,” the archbishop exhorted.
He continued: “Charity must be the first virtue that you desire in your life.”
Also in the Gospel reading were Jesus’ transmission of the two greatest commandments: Love of God and love of neighbor. The love that Jesus speaks of is agape, Archbishop Aquila explained, which is a sacrificial love and willingness to lay down one’s life, not only for one’s friends, but also one’s enemies.
“In that sacrificial love, it is on the Cross that it is revealed the most, and you too are called to embrace the Cross,” he told the new priests. “No matter where you are called, you are called to give witness to Christ and to the Gospel.”
Amid that witness, priests are called to celebrate the Eucharist every day to enter into intimacy with Christ and and be reminded of his sacrifice, the archbishop added.
“[It is] a sacrifice that you will be privileged to celebrate as priests,” he said. “You are called to that sacrificial love of the Cross, to say every day of your life to the people of God, to those entrusted to your pastoral care, ‘this is my body given for you, this is my blood poured out for you.’”
In administering the sacraments, Archbishop Aquila recalled St. Paul’s discourse on love in his first letter to the Corinthians, urging the men to always reflect the love of Christ.
“As you celebrate the sacraments, you are always to be there as Christ, reminding people of the love and the mercy of Jesus Christ.”
Just as essential as love is a disposition of joy, which is a fruit of charity and of the Holy Spirit, the archbishop said. Remaining in communion with the eternal love of the Holy Trinity is the primary means by which the fruit of joy is borne — not just for priests, but for all disciples.
“Jesus desires your joy. He desires the joy of every disciple,” he told the men. “Yes, there will be times of trial and temptation, suffering and rejection that you will experience as a priest. It is because Jesus himself, in his humanity, experienced all of those; and yet, none of that conquered his love. He continued to love as the Father loves.
“It is only in knowing and believing and living in the communion of love with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that we are able to experience that joy, even in the midst of the challenging times in which we live.”