Here are some beautiful photographs capturing the ordination to the sacred priesthood of Father Miguel Colunga-Santoyo; Father Russell Ward; and Father Mark Martin who were ordained by Bishop Earl Boyea at Saint Thomas Aquinas Church in East Lansing on Saturday, June 12. Ad multos annos!
“My sons and brothers, I have been struck by your choice of readings for today,” commented Bishop Boyea in his homily.
“They all focus on the need for the great virtue of humility. They challenge us to be like Jesus, to pour out ourselves as gift, not holding anything back, and then ascribing all to grace, to the love of the Father for us. You are thus committing yourselves to serve as models to all of us as you embrace the Cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Father Martin and Father Colunga-Santoyo are now priests of the Diocese of Lansing and will serve, respectively, in Saint Gerard, Lansing, and Saint Patrick, Brighton. Meanwhile, Father Ward, who hails from Saint Mary, Queen of Angels, parish in Swartz Creek, is now a priest of the Legionaries of Christ. May God bless and reward their apostolic labors in the months and years to come. Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy, pray for them!
The ordination can be viewed again on YouTube below. Meanwhile, Bishop Boyea’s homily is reproduced in full below too:
• Homily of Bishop Earl Boyea, Priesthood Ordination Mass, Saturday, June 12, 2021, Saint Thomas Aquinas, East Lansing.
Thanks to Fr. Gordon Riegle and the staff of St. Thomas and St. John; the faculty of St. John Vianney Seminary and the faculty of Sacred Heart Major Seminary; Jeremy Priest and diocesan staff; Fr. John Whitlock and Denise Dell’Acqua; parents and family members of those to be ordained—welcome and thank you for your support of their vocations; invite all the seminarians present to stand; invite all the priests to stand.
My dear sisters and brothers, we are all invited to consider carefully the nature of the order to which these, our brothers, are to be ordained today. God has made, as we know, his entire holy people a royal priesthood. However, Jesus also chose his apostles to be his sacramental presence for building up the Body of Christ in service to all of us. These apostles and those subsequently ordained after them are configured to Jesus the High Priest. As a result, they are able to offer the Lord’s sacrifice on our behalf to the Heavenly Father.
And now I turn to you, my sons and brothers, Miguel, Mark, and Russell. The text you guys chose for our first reading is from the Book of Numbers. It recounts two events which took place at different times as we find in the Book of Exodus. Here, these events are combined thus giving rise to two complaints: that the people want meat instead of that daily lousy manna and, secondly, that Moses needs help. In both of these cases, a very frustrated and tired Moses cries to God that he is unable to carry all this people and their needs. Moses was simply not capable of being everything that the people wanted or needed. You, my sons and brothers, will also find that the people of God whom you will serve will always want more than you are capable of giving, will want more than you are capable of doing. It is altogether reasonable that we cry out to God along with Moses, “Did I conceive all this people? Did I bring them forth?” Because, when we cry out thus, we are fully recognizing that these are God’s people, that this is Jesus’ Church, that we are not the savior. Every morning and every evening this should be our prayer.
Your choice of our second reading, from Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, demonstrates how it is that we are to understand this reality. Even as Paul recognized that the ministry he received was not his own, so you acknowledge the true origin of the light you are to be. Paul refers to God’s edict of light at the beginning of the Book of Genesis to point to the true source of any knowledge of Jesus Christ which we might have. And so, since God has chosen to say, “Let there be light,” in you today does not change the fact that we are truly only earthen vessels. The light is not of us, but is always of the one who says, “Let there be light.” Nonetheless, my sons and brothers, this acknowledgment on our part is never to be taken as an excuse for not fulfilling the ministry we receive. It is ascribed to St. Augustine to “pray as though everything depended on God; work as though everything depended on you.” We have been mercied by God all in order to preach Jesus Christ as Lord. So, do so!
In our Gospel account today, Philip and Andrew, our two apostles with Greek names, have just brought a group of curious Greeks to see Jesus. I presume these visitors got a lot more than they bargained for. They no doubt had seen Jesus riding on a colt into Jerusalem with the people hailing him as King of Israel. Yet, this is not the Jesus these Greeks now encounter. Rather, Jesus’ words are clear, the grain must die if it is to bear fruit. Riding a colt will not do it. Rather, follow me, says Jesus, on the path I will walk. You, my sons and brothers, present yourselves today for a lifetime of service to the Body of Christ. No doubt, you will be hailed, at least as long as you are young, but that is not when you will bear fruit. Rather, it will be in the following of Christ and him crucified. There are moments of riding on a colt which give us great joy; but mostly we are in for that slow grain-dying, that self-giving, that he-must-increase and I-must-decrease ministry which will typify our daily lives. Embrace that with all your hearts and then watch the Lord bring forth an abundant harvest through you.
My sons and brothers, I have been struck by your choice of readings for today. They all focus on the need for the great virtue of humility. They challenge us to be like Jesus, to pour out ourselves as gift, not holding anything back, and then ascribing all to grace, to the love of the Father for us. You are thus committing yourselves to serve as models to all of us as you embrace the Cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ. May I this day, as a sinner myself, join you and thus imitate our Lord and also model this service to you as I wash your feet. God bless you all.