The Cardinal’s Column
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
May 26 - June 8, 2013
Ordinations to the priesthood 2013
Cardinal George’s Schedule
- May 27: 10:30 a.m., Memorial Day Field Mass, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip
- May 29: noon, Catholic University Presidents' Meeting, University of St. Francis, Joliet
- May 30: 11 a.m., Catholic Charities All Saints Residence Dedication, Chicago; 7:30 p.m., Immigration Reform Prayer Vigil, Holy Family Church (Roosevelt Rd.)
- May 31: 7:30 p.m., Priesthood and Diaconate Ordination, St. John Cantius Church
- June 1: 11 a.m., Jubilee Celebration of Religious Life, St. John Brebeuf, Niles; 3:15 p.m., Gathering of Lay Ecclesial Movements, St. Lambert Parish, Skokie
- June 2: 10 a.m., Corpus Christi Mass and Procession, St. Mary of the Angels; 3 p.m., Lumen Cordium Society Mass and Reception, Holy Family Church (Roosevelt Road)
- June 3-4: The Catholic University of America Board of Trustees Meeting, Washington, D.C.
- June 6: 9 a.m., The Catholic Church Extension Society Board Meeting, Rosemont; 7 p.m., Vespers, Catechetical Ministries Graduation and Certification Ceremony, St. Ferdinand Parish
- June 7: 5:30 p.m., Cardinal's Reception for Archdiocesan Councils, Residence
- June 8: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Meeting, San Diego, Calif.
Cardinal George approved the following clergy appointment April 9. All appointments are effective immediately:
Rev. Raymond Novak to be the associate pastor of Holy Name Cathedral Parish, North State Street, effective immediately.
On May 18, I ordained 10 deacons to the priesthood for service in the Archdiocese of Chicago (see Pages 14-15). They had been prepared for this step by the grace of God, by their years in the seminary and by the support and prayers of family and friends, many of whom were present in Holy Name Cathedral for the ordination Mass. During that Mass, I preached the following homily, reflecting on the ordination rite and on passages from the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 20; from St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy, chapter 4; and from the Gospel according to St. John, chapter 21.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ: We are here engaged in a conversation. First, we listened to passages from Holy Scripture. Then we called those to be ordained and questioned the seminary rector about their readiness. Now we are instructing those to be ordained and will ask them next to tell us their intention and make promises to God and to the church. We then get many of the saints into the conversation and draw in God himself. The ordained priests present here contribute silently to the action, as do those who bring up the gifts for the sacrifice.
The most telling part of the conversation, as is often the case when people communicate most profoundly, is the silence that accompanies the laying on of hands in a gesture that unites us without words to the actions of the apostles themselves, who gave their lives to introduce others to Jesus. This ordination rite is a sacred conversation, allowing earth to speak to heaven and heaven to answer our earthly prayers. The rite is a historical conversation, uniting us now with the apostolic church, so that the governance of God’s people will be continued from generation to generation until Christ returns in glory. We are in a conversation that uses human words and invokes God’s word to change forever those being ordained to the priesthood. Those to be ordained have certainly listened carefully to the Scripture readings we have all just heard. They heard St. Paul telling the pastors in Ephesus before he left them to go to his death in Rome: “The Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers.” What the Holy Spirit did in Ephesus 2,000 years ago, he does in Chicago today. Ten men are being appointed overseers, pastors to love the people and govern the church.
They heard St. Paul tell St. Timothy: “Set an example.” In order to be an example to the people, Timothy had to attend to himself and to what he was teaching. Timothy had to be learned in the truth that Christ revealed and had to live it authentically, as a true disciple of Jesus. So do priests today.
They heard, in the Gospel, Jesus ask St. Peter: “Do you love me?” This is the definitive question: Do you love a crucified and risen Jesus? And we have to hear them answer, with St. Peter, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
The goal of every Christian is to live constantly with God. We practice living constantly with God in this life so that we might be able to live forever with God in the next. God’s presence is felt most intensely in the liturgy and in personal prayer; but every moment of our lives is to be experienced with God in mind and in heart. Time not spent with God is time either wasted or sinful. We know God through his self-revelation in Jesus, and we experience God through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Priests’ very presence reminds people that God has not abandoned his people, that he loves them through the life and ministry of priests, who are sacramentally configured to Christ, the good shepherd and the head of his body, the church.
Dear brothers and sons, out of your knowledge of Christ, you can teach who he is; out of your love for Christ, you can witness to his way. In the years to come, you will guide and give life to many disciples of Jesus here, in our archdiocese. Our gratitude to God and to you is something you should hear now and take to heart always.
Be confident, then, that God will continue to work in and through you. Be grateful that God will use you to save his people from their sins and bring them to eternal life. Be joyful that each time you offer the Sacrifice of the Mass the world will be changed; the Lord who transforms bread into his risen body will transform you and his people and the entire world he died to save. Be hopeful, for Christ has overcome the world, and he has called you to live in his light and to love with his heart.
You enter into history and into eternity as ordained priests of the Catholic Church. The world doesn’t know it depends on you, but it does; the church does know she depends on you, but she will often take you for granted. Still, hear each day what you have heard here: the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers and therefore you are to set an example, in your lives and in your teaching. And each day tell the Lord with St. Peter: You know all things, you know that I love you. Then you will have the courage, even in difficult times, to speak of Christ to everyone. You will live constantly with God, and you will merit the joy and the pride with which the people and your brother priests regard you today.