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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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"As the subject of the language of worship was discussed in the Council hall over the course of several days, I followed the process with great attention, as well as later the various wordings of the Liturgy Constitution until the final vote. I still remember very well how after several radical proposals a Sicilian bishop rose and implored the fathers to allow caution and reason to reign on this point, because otherwise there would be the danger that the entire Mass might be held in the language of the people — whereupon the entire hall burst into uproarious laughter."
— Alfons Cardinal Stickler (1997)

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The Experience of Ordination
published 26 July 2011 by Fr. David Friel

In the two months I’ve been a priest, many people have asked what it was like to be ordained. What was I thinking and feeling during the ordination?

I could say a great deal about that wonderful day, but one of the most significant experiences for me came during the entrance procession. As we began processing, I heard this line: “Everything I have is yours.” It was very much interior, but nevertheless loud and clear. I recognized it as a passage from the story of the Prodigal Son. It surprised me, because that wasn’t going to be the Gospel read at the ordination, nor had I meditated on that parable during my ordination retreat.

Those are the words of the Father to the brother of the Prodigal Son―the brother who objects to the slaughter of the fattened calf for his wayward sibling. In the context of our procession, I was very consoled to hear those words as an assurance of the Father spoken directly to me: “Everything I have is yours.”

Later in the ordination, as I knelt down in preparation for the prostration, the roles reversed. I looked at the dome of the Cathedral and nearly spontaneously spoke the same words from my own heart to God the Father: “Everything I have is Yours.”

These first months as a priest have been a fascinating process of discovering precisely how the Lord plans to take possession of “everything I have.” I hope to share some of those experiences with readers going forward. Suffice it to be said for now that there is an outrageous disproportion in the exchange I just described. However fervent and sincere I was when I offered everything to God on my ordination day, it is nothing by comparison to what I have received, because God’s “everything” is infinitely larger than my “everything.”

And, yet, everything is still everything. No matter the size of our personal “everything,” it’s what God asks of us all.