The Archdiocese of Denver has a new priest here within our community!
And two newly perpetually professed consecrated laymen?
From one community?
All in the course of a year?
This is the case for the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, better known as the Sodalits, who live and serve at Holy Name Parish in Sheridan. This week, they welcome a new priest to their community, ordained a deacon last summer and now having been ordained a priest by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila. They also continue to celebrate two community members who made their perpetual promises of full apostolic availability. A big year, indeed!
“It has been a time of many blessings,” said Father Daniel Cardó, Pastor of Holy Name Parish and a Sodalit priest. “While we all experience the challenges of our times, both in the world and in the Church, it is a great consolation to see so closely how God continues to call and how people continue to respond. All of this has brought great joy to our community.”
For Father Juan Fernando Sardi, the newest priest in the Sodalitium and in the Archdiocese of Denver, this “means everything to me. I’ve been waiting for this moment for almost 20 years!
“I know a lot of things are going to change, and I am a little scared. But, at the same time I know the Lord, who calls me, will give me the grace I need to respond.”
Father Sardi continued, “I am convinced that I am here not just because of me, or my ‘yes’ to the Lord. But also because some of the kind and generous people that God has put in my path. People that had responded to the Lord before me, and through their ‘yes’ I learned also to say ‘yes (fiat),’ by following their example and also thanks to the prayers of many. I am very grateful to them and to the Lord for them.”
Reflecting on his new priestly ministry to come, Father Sardi shared, “Being a priest is not just “for me,” but, most of all for others. I am called to serve, to become — in some mysterious way that surpasses me — a sign of the Lord, a reminder that God has not forgotten us, that He is present in our daily living. I really hope I can help Him with that. That is my vocation. Priesthood is a ministry, a service, to the People of God.”
Indeed, Father Sardi will be busy with ministry and service at Holy Name. For several years, Father Cardó has been the only priest at the growing parish, which has posed a ministerial challenge for him. With the ordination of a new priest, Father Cardó shared, “I am certainly looking forward to having another priest at Holy Name! The Lord has been very good and the parish has grown significantly, not only in numbers but also in all kinds of events. Having some priestly help will be a great company, while also allowing us to better serve our parish. We will be able to offer more confessions and be more available for retreats and other events which were more challenging when I was the only priest. And we will be able to serve more the Hispanic community of our parish territory, especially through a weekly Spanish Mass.”
In addition to the ordination of Father Sardi, the Sodalit community has celebrated the perpetual promises of Chris Lanciotti and Phil Couture. These promises profess their commitment of full availability to the apostolate in perpetuity.
“To me, having made my perpetual profession means that God loves me more than I could ever imagine, enough to give me the grace to persevere this far,” shared Lanciotti, reflecting on his profession. “It means that he loves the Church and wants to send the weak and wounded out to serve in His name. I’m so grateful that God has called me back to serve in my home diocese. It’s truly a blessing!”
“I used to think that my perpetual profession was the seal of my perseverance and faithfulness,” shared Couture, “but that vision has been turned upside-down. I realize now that it’s really proof of God’s faithfulness to me. My vocation is only possible because He has ‘loved me and gave Himself up for me,’ and my profession shows that my life is not my own because it belongs to Him. My life, my call, is proof that ‘His mercy endures forever.’”
With three men in one community taking such major steps in their vocations, there is plenty to celebrate, and to reflect on.
“We don’t need to do amazing things or extraordinary things,” Father Sardi concluded in exhortation. “We just need to live — as Saint John Paul II used to say — in a way that we make the ordinary things in an extraordinary way. And that ‘extraordinary way’ is the way of Love, of God’s Love… And no one can give what he or she doesn’t have. So I would say that the first step is always learning and striving to know and receive the Love of God. Many people think that is obvious, but in my experience this is one of the most difficult things in the Christian life, understanding ourselves as beloved sons and daughters of God, loved in a very specific and particular way by God.”
In sum, Father Cardó said, this trifecta of vocational milestones “reaffirms me in the certainty that we need to confront the temptation of worrying about the big problems out there with the simple effort to live our concrete daily lives with love, and serve those whom we can actually serve.”