Voice from the Valley

VFTV: June 12, 2019

A NEW PRIEST!

During his homily at a recent ordination Mass, Pope Francis said, “For Christ was sent by the Father and he in turn sent the Apostles in the world, so that through them and their successors, the Bishops, he might continue to exercise his office of teacher, priest, and shepherd. Indeed, priests are established co-workers of the Order of Bishops with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God.”

At every Confirmation Mass, after Holy Communion, I say a word about vocations. I ask those present to continue praying for the vocations we need, that our young people’s hearts will be open to serving our loving God in the various ways of committed discipleship, and that God will give us the priests we need here. How blessed are we this June as God answers our prayers. A wonderful young man, Michael Arey, will be ordained to the ministerial priesthood. As the Rite of Ordination makes clear, God answers the prayers of the Church, and the one being ordained responds both to the call of the Lord and the call of the Church. The Rite of Ordination beautifully presents in various ways the call of God and the call of the Church. God’s call is expressed as the faithful gathered for the ordination are invited to pray “that God the all-powerful Father will pour out abundantly the gifts of heaven on this, his servant, whom he has chosen for the office of priest.” The call of the Church is seen as the bishop is told that, “Holy Mother Church asks you to ordain our brother to the responsibility of the priesthood.” And the bishop says: “We choose our brother for the Order of Priesthood.”

We thank Michael’s parents and ask God’s blessings on them, Mr. and Mrs. Stefan and Beverly Arey. Stefan and Beverly are members of St. Francis de Sales Parish, Moorhead. We thank them for sharing their faith with their son Michael, for bringing him to Baptism and bringing him up in the practice of the faith and for helping him respond to the call of God and the call of the Church. We thank Michael for his willingness to give his life to service as a ministerial priest of Jesus Christ. We ask that God abundantly bless him with the gifts of heaven that he might faithfully and fruitfully serve Christ, our teacher, priest, and shepherd, by whose ministry we – his Body, the Church – are built and grow into the people of God, a holy temple.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WEEK

Catholics throughout the United States are used to celebrating the Fortnight for Freedom prior to the national celebration of Independence Day, on July 4. This annual celebration sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is now called Religious Liberty Week. This year we celebrate it from June 22, the Memorial of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, through the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29. Religious freedom is about our ability to serve and bear witness to Jesus. Religious freedom extends to all aspects of our lives, to our relationship with God and our relationships with our neighbors. It extends to educating our children according to our faith and to serving the sick and the poor as Jesus taught us. Today, in society, the challenges to our religious freedom are many. During Religious Freedom Week, let us pray that religious freedom may be respected in all aspects of life and that the Holy Spirit will guide our efforts to keep religious freedom secure in our land and world. The theme for this year is: Strength in Hope. We do find strength in the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.