Looking at the date, you may be thinking - it’s the first day of summer. That would make sense this weekend. It happens every year right around now. Or possibly you are thinking – it’s Father’s Day. That, too, would be fair game; it also comes around this time, even though it is harder to keep track of precisely when.
These are important touchstones, but among priests, this is Anniversary Season. Just last Sunday, I remembered that it was the ordination anniversary of Fr. DeRosa (7 years), and my friend Msgr. Toups (18 years). The day before, it was my friend in Birmingham, Fr. Kevin Bazzel. Monday, Msgr. Robert Panke, rector of our seminary, celebrated his anniversary by offering Mass here at our parish, so I could travel to celebrate the anniversary of a friend in North Carolina! Msgr. David Brockman, whom you may have met when he visited me here Memorial Day weekend, had a big event down in Raleigh for the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination, and it was my privilege to participate.
Before it could be Anniversary Season, it had to be Ordination Season. If you know some older priests, they may have been ordained on the third Saturday in December, which was the practice in Rome up through the nineteen-sixties. But for decades now, most dioceses ordain men priests once they have completed the required studies, so the end of the school year is prime time. University classes now tend to be finished by mid-May, so that is when ordinations start. Father Nick, who is Dean of St. Joseph’s in New York, a seminary that serves several dioceses, over recent weeks has spent his Saturdays attending ordinations. Apparently he still had at least one left to attend after he departed here last weekend.
My own anniversary was last month. I turned seventeen! That was a good age the first time around; let’s see how it holds for ordination. My anniversary is already almost a month back because my year, Washington ordained priests relatively early. Usually we do it more toward mid- or late June. Which means lots of anniversaries around now. And it also means ordinations are now!
And sure enough, Cardinal Wuerl ordained nine men to the Sacred Priesthood on Saturday morning at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I have asked several times over recent weeks for your prayers for these men, who will serve our local church with their lives. Read about them in this week’s Catholic Standard, and please keep them in your prayers. And every year on this date, they will mark the anniversary of the day Jesus Christ changed their souls, and their lives, forever.
Father’s Day and the First Day of Summer will be printed on the calendar around this time in every edition for years to come. But for Father Angel Gabriel Fermin, Father Robert Maro, Father Alec Scott, Father Martino Choi, Father Matthew Fish, Father William Wadsworth, Father Conrad Murphy, Father Daniele Rebeggiani, and Father Santiago Martin, this will be the Anniversary, every year, of Ordination Day.