On Saturday, Feb. 18, seven men took a leap of faith into the transitional diaconate and a first step toward the priesthood at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
The men ordained were: Patricio Chuquimarca, Zachary Michalczyk, David Hall, Owen Limarta, Jacob Machado, Quoc Bui and Ryan Mack. Between the seven of them, they represented four nationalities — a testament to the beautiful universality of the Church.
Click here to watch the ordination Mass.
“Certainly when Bishop Machebeuf came here to Denver, little did he realize that in this time we would have a reading in Vietnamese, in Indonesian, in Spanish, and in English. And yet all are represented here [today],” Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila said to begin his homily.
The first reading of the Mass was from the book of the prophet Jeremiah, read in Vietnamese.
“We hear the Lord speak to Jeremiah in the first reading: ‘I formed you. I dedicated you. I appointed you. In the womb, I knew you. And that is true for each one of you, that the Lord has called each one of you,” Archbishop Aquila told the men. “You have heard that call within your heart. And there may have been some resistance to that call, the same resistance that Jeremiah speaks of. But the Lord reminds him, ‘I send you, I command you. I am with you to deliver you.'”
The archbishop continued: “He speaks those words to you today. Put your fears and your hesitancies behind you, your anxieties. They serve nothing except to agitate you. You are to have confidence in Jesus Christ and in his Word and in his promises. He tells us in today’s gospel that as disciples, and especially as you are ordained transitional deacons, that you are to enter into that communion of love with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. ‘As the father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.’ He calls each one of you to that truth that we are to be those who receive his love.”
In their new ministry as deacons, and eventually, priests, the archbishop implored the men to imitate Christ in all they do for the people of God.
“As you are configured to Christ the Servant today, you are called to be those who carry out in the world the works of charity, as Jesus did,” he said. “You are to be those who love others as Jesus loved in a love that, yes, is demanding, and a love that involves our complete surrender to him. But it is a love that will bear much fruit.”
This love does not always come easy, and the only way to effectively carry it out is to stay rooted in Christ, the archbishop said. This reality is all the more important for the newly ordained men as they take the first step in their journey toward the priesthood.
“The only way that you will bear fruit if is if you stay attached to the vine, to Jesus Christ. That means that each one of you must have a deep friendship with Jesus Christ, that He must be first within your life before anything else, and that you must live in that communion with him and learn from him,” he urged. “He is the one who is our teacher. He is the one who forms our hearts and our minds. It is only in giving our souls completely to him that that will be possible. And today is only the first step in your journey.”
Vocations to the priesthood stand as a sign of contradiction amid a culture that is consumed by self, and as such, the men will face challenges common to the Christian life.
“My dearest sons, you will experience the Cross in your ministry,” Archbishop Aquila warned. “To think you will not is absolute foolishness. But it means opening your heart and suffering with Christ. Listening to him and depending not on yourselves, but on the Holy Spirit, who is with you.”
However, as with all Christians, they will not be alone in bearing their Crosses. As they enter their new life as ordained men, the archbishop encouraged them to remember that the Lord has called them to this new life and desires that their vocations be full of joy.
“Know that the Lord is with you,” Archbishop Aquila concluded. “In these times, he is there, present for you. Follow his words and know that he desires for you today and throughout the rest of your life, ‘I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This I command you: Love one another.'”