By Tim Johnson
FORT WAYNE — A day of rejoicing marked June 7 as Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades ordained Father Zachary Barry to the Priesthood at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne.
“On this day before the great feast of Pentecost, we gather here in our Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Mary’s church, to celebrate the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Deacon Zachary Barry in the sacrament of priestly ordination,” Bishop Rhoades said as he began the Mass of Ordination to the Priesthood.
“We gather with great joy, the joy of the Holy Spirit,” Bishop Rhoades continued. “Our diocese rejoices today in receiving this gift from the Lord. Zak’s parents, Vince and Becky, and his brother, sisters, grandmothers, relatives and friends rejoice in a special way. Our priests rejoice that a new brother enters our priestly fraternity.”
Bishop Rhoades expressed his gratitude for the presence of Msgr. Stephen Rohlfs, Bishop Rhoades’ successor as rector of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary.
Msgr. Bernard Galic, vocation director who will be retiring from the post at the end of month, affirmed the readiness of candidate Barry for the Priesthood, and the homily followed.
“Today, Jesus, the Great High Priest, renews the extraordinary gift of the ministerial priesthood in our diocese,” Bishop Rhoades said in his homily. “As Jesus gave to the apostles on Holy Thursday a share in His priesthood, so He gives to Zachary Barry through the sacrament of Holy Orders a share in this priesthood, in the vocation and saving mission entrusted to Him by the Father.”
Bishop Rhoades addressed Deacon Barry in the homily, and said, “Deacon Zak, the priests present here today can testify with me that the celebration of the Eucharist is the center of our life and the most important moment of our every day. As a priest, when you celebrate Mass, you will not only be recalling for the community the events of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. Through your priestly ministry at the altar, the Paschal Mystery, which Pope Francis calls ‘the beating heart of the Church’s mission,’ will be made present. By the power of the Holy Spirit, you will act in the person of Christ so that when you pronounce the words of consecration at Mass, your words will have the same efficacy as those spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper. Deacon Zak, by the gift you receive today, you will become a minister of the sacrament that is at the very heart of the life of the Church, the sacrament of charity from which the Church draws her life.”
Bishop Rhoades said it is important at the ordination Mass to also remember something else that Jesus did at the Last Supper. He washed the feet of the apostles, teaching those first priests that they, like He, were to be servants.
“To be a priest is to be a servant: a servant of God and of the Church,” Bishop Rhoades said. “In the image of Christ who is both High Priest and Good Shepherd, priests are to be men of mercy and compassion, close to the people they serve, especially to those who are wounded in life: to sinners, to the sick and suffering, to the poor and outcasts.”
Bishop Rhoades encouraged the deacon to think about Pope Francis’ image of the Church as a field hospital. “There are so many people who are wounded and the Holy Father is saying we must be there to treat the wounds, whether they are open or hidden,” Bishop Rhoades said.
Pope Francis has asked the priests: “Do you know the wounds of your parishioners? Do you perceive them? Are you close to them? Do you weep for your people? Do you pray for them?”
Bishop Rhoades said the holy priest is not one who just celebrates the Eucharist but the one who lives the Eucharist, the one who can honestly say to His people as Jesus said to the apostles: “I am among you as the one who serves.”
Bishop Rhoades reflected on how the ordination liturgy takes the faithful back in spirit to the upper room, both to the Last Supper and to Pentecost.
“Tomorrow, ‘Father’ Zachary will celebrate his first Mass on the Solemnity of Pentecost, the day when the Church’s mission began, the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, strengthening them to go forth to bear witness to the crucified and risen Christ,” Bishop Rhoades said. “Through the laying on of my hands and the prayer of consecration, the same Holy Spirit descends today in this cathedral upon Deacon Zak, strengthening him for his apostolic and priestly mission. He will go forth in the power of the Spirit to share the treasure of the Gospel. He will go forth to catechize, baptize, forgive, anoint and bless. Like the apostles, our new priest will be inspired, commanded and moved by the Holy Spirit in his service of the faithful.”
St. Paul gave wonderful counsel to the presbyters of Ephesus, counsel that is important for priests to follow: “Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the Church of God that He acquired with His own Blood.”
Priests are to keep watch over the flock entrusted to them and to tend the Church of God, the bishop explained. “When fierce wolves come to attack her, we are called to protect and defend her with the truth that is stronger than falsehood and with the love that is stronger than hatred, always trusting in the words of Jesus that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church,” Bishop Rhoades said.
Priests also need to keep watch over themselves, the bishop added. “This requires that we spend time with Him in prayer, especially through contemplation of His Word and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament,” he said. “We must be with Christ in order to go forth to bring Him to others. Devotion to Our Blessed Mother especially helps us to abide in Jesus and His love.”
And just as St. Paul did at the end of his discourse to the presbyters of Ephesus — he knelt down and prayed with them all — Bishop Rhoades quoted Pope Benedict XVI when he said, “praying on one’s knees means adoring God’s greatness in our weakness, grateful that the Lord loves us, precisely in our weakness.”
“To be good and holy priests, we too must have the faith and the humility to kneel down and pray in adoration of the One whom we serve, Our King, Our High Priest, Our Shepherd,” Bishop Rhoades said.
After the homily, Deacon Barry declared his intentions to assume the responsibility of the office of Priesthood and promised obedience and respect to the bishop and his successors.
The elect then prostrated himself on the floor of the cathedral as a sign of his complete submission to the will of God, while the Litany of Saints was beautifully sung.
The deacon knelt before Bishop Rhoades and later the entire college of priests who processed by to lay hands on the head of the candidate, in accordance with the apostolic tradition. Then, with Deacon Barry kneeling before him, Bishop Rhoades put aside the miter, and, with hands outstretched, prayed the Prayer of Ordination.
The newly ordained priest was then vested by Msgr. John Suelzer, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo, Fort Wayne, and where Father Barry attended grade school, with the stole and chasuble, signs of the priestly office, after which Bishop Rhoades anointed the new priest’s palms with Chrism, a consecrated and perfumed oil that symbolizes wisdom and strength.
The Barry family brought forward the gifts of the people to Bishop Rhoades. They delivered the paten and chalice to Bishop Rhoades, who then handed them over to the newly ordained Father Barry with the exhortation to discharge his priestly duties in imitation of Christ.
The ordination rite concluded with Bishop Rhoades and all the priests in attendance bestowing the fraternal kiss of peace on Father Barry as a means of welcoming him into the presbyterate.
At the end of the Mass, Bishop Rhoades asked for a blessing from the new priest, and then on the plaza of the cathedral many of Father Barry’s family, friends and the faithful offered their best wishes and requested a special blessing from the newly-ordained priest.
Father Barry told Today’s Catholic he had been looking forward to ordination. “I feel a mixture of excitement, anticipation and nervousness,” he said. “But above all I’m at peace that I am where the Lord has called me to be.”
“It is a great mystery and a great joy to be called to the Priesthood, to act in the person of Christ,” Father Barry added. “I look forward to ministering Christ’s sacraments to His people and to spending my life fully for the Gospel and for souls.”
A grateful Father Barry concluded, “My thanks to my family, my seminary formators and all who have prayed for and encouraged me in my vocation and growth in holiness knows no bounds, without the grace of God supporting me through so many kind and supportive souls I would never have made it to the altar, and it is this grace which will continue to support me in my priestly life and ministry.”
Father Barry celebrated his first Mass on June 8 at his home parish, Our Lady of Good Hope Parish, Fort Wayne.
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