Well, thanks be to God, Father McCabe, and a few other of my brother priests who stepped in, I was able to scoot away last weekend to make sure that our man Father Corey Krengiel was well and rightly ordained. Not that anyone in Illinois required my stamp of approval, but I thought you would be fortified by my witness.
So, 1620 miles later, I can say that his ordination in the cathedral of Peoria with three other men was splendid, and every step observed to guarantee the life-changing touch of the Holy Spirit to conform him to Jesus Christ the High Priest. None of that shows up in pictures, but I grabbed a photograph with him in the sacristy of his home parish of Saint Patrick, in Lemont, IL, immediately after his first Mass. Yes, that is exultation you detect in his eyes!
The homily for that great event, attended by a large congregation of friends, family, and parishioners, was given by my friend and seminary classmate, Father Tony Dittmer. I stayed with him on his rectory in LaSalle, IL and caught up on everything that had happened in his life since we were last together six years ago.
At the ordination Mass, when all the concelebrants made their ways back our seats, I found myself sitting next to a fine young priest from Indiana, whom you should recognize. Father Clayton Thompson was our weekend deacon last year; I brought evidence of his new state, too.
So aside from the Nats game at PNC Park with my cousin on the trip out, and a good visit with my aunt and uncle on the trip back, it was a very priestly excursion.
It is a fortifying and encouraging experience to be present when a man you have known in his formation is raised to the priesthood. I was glad to be with Father Corey Krengiel for this life-changing event after all the time we had together over the past year. I was glad to represent you, and convey your affection and support.
You could not be at that event, but you can come to the priesthood ordination of several men you have accompanied on their preparatory journeys. Deacons Chris Seith and Ken Gill, who spent the summers here in our parish in 2012 and 2013, respectively, will both be ordained priests later this month, along with five other men. You can see their pictures on the posters around the church, which advertise our Holy Hour this weekend for them and all vocations. Plan to come down to the Basilica on Saturday, June 21, for the 10:00 Archdiocese of Washington Priesthood Ordination. The new priests will be fortified by your presence at this great sacrament, and so will you.