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New priests urged to ‘have the heart of Christ’

Nilton and Geovania de Araujo Castro traveled more than 5,000 miles from Brazil to witness the ordination of their son, Warli, into the priesthood on May 17, in downtown Denver.

Joan Martin only had to drive about 40 milesfrom her Longmont home to attend the ordination Mass for her son, Jason Wunsch, but she shared the same emotions as the Castro couple.

“I am excited, blessed, filled with gratitude,” Martin said.

An emotional, tearful Geovania spoke in Portuguese of the grace of God in their lives. Her husband added, “It is a blessing from the Lord.”

Family and friends packed the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception as four seminarians who served as deacons for the last year were ordained by Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila. Castro and Wunsch entered the priesthood with Joseph Doman and Nathan A. Goebel.

All four new priests begin work at their archdiocesan parishes as parochial vicars on June 18 for three-year assignments.

The uplifting 90-minute Mass blended English with Portuguese, organ and trumpet music from the Cathedral Basilica’s choir led by Mark Lawlor and organist Kathleen MacLean, and guitar and drum music from Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary choir.

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Archbishop Aquila delivered an impassioned homily for the new priests reminding them that in serving the Church they must remain loyal, humble and forgiving.

“There is nothing worse than a cantankerous, angry priest,” Archbishop Aquila said. “He does not know Jesus and the love that Jesus alone can give.”

The archbishop urged the new priests to pray to the Holy Spirit while celebrating the sacraments.

“To have the heart of Christ is my deepest prayer for you who are ordained today,” Archbishop Aquila said.

Father Doman’s parents, John and Michele, traveled from Pennsylvania. The ninth of 10 children his guests took up five pews, instead of the normally reserved three pews, to accommodate the visitors including many of his 39 nieces and nephews.

“This is quite humbling,” said his father, John. “Don’t tell our other kids, but I think God took the best one.”

Father Doman, 29, has been assigned to Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Northglenn. St. Anthony of Padua in Denver will be the new parish for Father Castro, 33.

St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Littleton will be home for Father Goebel, 31, who grew up in Illinois. His family members, Mike and Ashley Goebel, presented the gifts at the Mass along with the parents of the other new priests.

Father Wunsch, 36, was raised in the Methodist Church and became a Catholic at age 20 after his identical twin brother, Mark, became the first convert in the family. His mother also converted and is active at St. John the Baptist Church in Longmont. He has been assigned at St. Michael the Archangel in Craig and the parishes of St. Ignatius of Antioch in Rangely and Holy Family in Meeker under the guidance of the pastor, Father Geronimo Gonzalez.

“I think he will fit right in with us,” Father Gonzalez said. “I look forward to our work together for the good of the people of Craig, Meeker, and Rangely and the spread of the Gospel in our little corner of the state.”


The four deacons who were ordained as priests went through several ordination rites administered by Archbishop Samuel Aquila.

Election of Candidates for the Priesthood

The archbishop called each priestly candidate by name and they responded: “Present” before stepping forward. He asked the candidates if they had received proper training and were ready for ordination. Msgr. Bernie Schmitz, vicar for clergy, endorsed the candidates.
“Relying on the help of the Lord God and Our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose these, our brothers, for the order of the priesthood,” Archbishop Aquila said. The congregation responded, “Thanks be to God,” and welcomed the men with hardy applause.

Promises of the Elect

The archbishop took each candidate’s hand individually and asked each man if he is willing to serve the Church as a faithful priest. The candidates promised respect to the archbishop and his successors. The men lay prone on the altar during the Litany of Supplication.

Laying on of Hands and Prayer of Ordination

They individually approached the archbishop who laid his hands upon each candidate in silent prayer. Other priests joined the archbishop in laying hands on the elect to symbolize the unity of the priests with the archbishop.

Investiture with Stole and Chasuble; Anointing of Hands; Handing Over of the Bread and Wine and Kiss of Peace

The newly ordained priests were vested with a stole and chasuble, and then their hands were anointed by the archbishop before they were presented with a holy chalice and paten used for the Eucharist. The archbishop and the priests together welcomed the newly ordained with the kiss of peace.

Roxanne King
Roxanne King
Roxanne King is the former editor of the Denver Catholic Register and a freelance writer in the Denver area.

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