AY 18, 2013, was a powerful day of Grace. My brother, Mark, was ordained to the Transitional Diaconate by the Most Reverend Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann.
The image you see toward the upper right was taken the night before, while the seminarians were practicing. After that, we all took part in a beautiful Sung Vespers and Holy Hour.
The music for the Ordination was sensational. Lucas Tappan has created an unbelievable “school of singing.” He currently directs forty (40) children and a whole bunch of adults. Their “sound” was so beautiful. I was not expecting to hear such a beautiful “sound.” Musicians will understand what I mean when I refer to the “sound” of the voices: lovely, unforced (as Fr. Finn would say!), and trained well. By the way, they used a Chabanel Psalm I composed, and it sounded amazing the way they sang it. They had all the high voices sing every other verse, and the low voices sang the alternate verses. All present joined each Refrain. Lucas is to be commended for his fine work.
Archbishop Naumann gave the finest sermon on priestly celibacy I ever heard. You can read it here:
A few excerpts:
Of all the of these ordination promises, celibacy is perhaps the most counter-cultural.
In its first chapters, the scriptures speak to us the truth that human beings are not meant to be alone. We are built to be in communion with others. The relationship of marriage has a special place of importance above all other human friendships and bonds. The Bible tells us for this reason a man and woman leave father and mother in order to become one in flesh and spirit. According to the scriptures, the love of husband and wife most closely approximates the love of God for His people. Even heaven itself is described as a wedding banquet.
The Church asks those who will lead and shepherd her communities of Faith to give up the possibility of marital love as a prophetic witness that there is something even more important to our happiness than even beautiful intimacy possible in Christian marriage. More essential to our joy as human beings – no matter if we are married or single or a religious sister or priest – is intimacy with God.
In a world that mixes up physical sexual intimacy with love, this bold witness of celibacy is crucial. In a world where many are confused about something as fundamental as the nature of marriage, where many no longer are able to distinguish between pornography and beauty, where the lie of the sexual revolution – that physical sex is essential for happiness – continues to dominate our music and movies, prophetic celibate love is desperately needed.
Our culture continues to cling to the deception that sexual pleasure is the key to happiness, even though we are surrounded by the collateral damage of the sexual revolution – more that 50 million children aborted, epidemics of depression and physical disease, high divorce rates, and children deprived of the love of a father and a mother.
But the most astonishing thing was to hear my brother preach on Sunday. He did an incredible job.
May Jesus Christ be praised. In spite of all the evil in the world, He still takes care of His Church. The Church is strong. The Church is vibrant. Jesus Christ still offers His Grace to those willing to accept it.