The Night Before
I was ordained on May 25, 1974. Today is the anniversary of the eve of that ordination. I recall it rather well.
That evening the ten of us to be ordained arrived at the Cathedral for a rehearsal. It was thorough but not in a painstaking way. We were to start the Mass by walking up the aisle in procession and then joining our families in the pews. From there we were to be called forth during the Mass to be ordained and then take our place at the altar.
Someone suggested that we sit in reverse alphabetical order because Diaconate ordination the previous year put everyone according to our place in an alphabet. I quickly agreed, knowing that that would allow my parents, with a name beginning with W, to sit in the front pew and be able to see.
After the rehearsal I drove out to St. Caspar Church, Wauseon, where my friend and mentor Fr. Paul Mueller was pastor. We visited and then spent time in church praying together. I stayed there overnight and, as far as I can recall, slept quite well.
As I look back, I realize how not alone I was as I entered priestly life. I had lots of support from family, friends, and classmates. Furthermore, I did not arrive at that point in my life without lots of encouragement and guidance. Consequently, I have always felt that priesthood is not just for priests. We exist in our church with and for others, so that we can travel the faith road together.
“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few….’”