‘I do, with the help of God’

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Q. What does being ordained to the Priesthood mean for you?

Having had a few days to reflect on the great gift of the Sacrament of Holy Orders that I received on June 3, one response from the Rite of Ordination continues to strike me in a particular way.

Following the Bishop’s homily, he asked Fathers Brice, Morris and I a series of questions. After asking us if we resolve to be united more closely every day to Christ the High Priest, and with him to consecrate ourselves to God for the salvation of all, we affirmed, “I do, with the help of God.”

In a few simple words, this exchange characterizes my life of priestly ministry to come. Priesthood necessitates a laying down of one’s life to become more closely conformed to Christ every single day. Bishop Tobin phrased it well, I am “signing a lifetime contract without knowing all the terms.” On that day, I agreed to carry out everything that the Lord, and His Church asks of me.

By human estimation, such a task could be impossible. To rely on my strength alone would prove disastrous. But with God’s assistance all things are possible. I began to recall all of the many blessings that I received during during my six years of seminary formation, and of the super abundant grace that would be imparted with the sacrament itself. I thought about all of the people who, prompted by God, have supported me throughout my life. Later in the Rite of Ordination we asked for assistance of the many saints in heaven, to intercede on our behalf. Truly, God gives us the help needed to flourish in our vocation in a variety of ways.

Simply put, priestly ordination is an acceptance of God’s wisdom for my life. It is a consent or “I do” to carry out what is necessary for the salvation of souls.

Please pray for my classmates and I that our Blessed Mother will seek out for us every help necessary from her Son as we begin our priestly ministry here in the Diocese of Providence.

Have a question? Ask the Newly Ordained! Readers may submit questions by sending them to Editor@thericatholic.com.

“Ask the Newly Ordained” features Fathers Brian Morris, Joseph Brice and Stephen Battey — who respond to questions about the faith from Rhode Island Catholic readers.