Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter
June 6, 2023 // Bishop

Seven Men Ordained to the Priesthood

Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad” is Psalm 118:24. Rejoicing filled the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne on Saturday, June 3, when more than 1,000 people gathered for the ordination of seven men to the holy priesthood. Conferred by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, families watched their sons and brothers declare their intention to assume the responsibility of the office of the priesthood and promise obedience and respect to Bishop Rhoades and his successors.

Click for more photos from the ordination.

“I extend an especially warm welcome to the parents and families of our seven deacons about to be ordained priests. Thank you for all you have done to foster and support the vocation of your sons and brothers. May the Lord bless you with joy this day! And welcome to the priests who are here representing the seminaries where these men received their priestly formation: to Monsignor Michael Heintz, Academic Dean at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg (who, as you know and I’m proud to say, is a priest of our diocese); to Father Anthony Brausch, the Rector of the other Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati; to Father Joseph Moriarty, Rector of Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary in Indianapolis; and to Monsignor James McNamara, Spiritual Director and Father Michael Romano, Director of Admissions, both from the Pontifical North American College in Rome. We are truly grateful for your presence with us today,” said Bishop Rhoades in his opening remarks.

During the Promise of the Elect, the men were guided to declare their commitment to the priesthood and obedience to the shepherd of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese. — Joe Romie

Anne and Theodore Smith were delighted to be present at the ordination ceremony. For Anne, it was her first time coming. Theodore went to an ordination as a young boy and doesn’t remember much. “I was amazed by how many traditions were part of the Mass. The entire ceremony was beautiful, and I teared up many times watching the men dedicate themselves to their faith,” noted Anne.

Theodore said, “I don’t remember the Knights of Columbus escort happening when I went to an ordination when I was young, and I thought that was a neat part of the ceremony. I’m glad I got to experience this at an older age because I feel like I didn’t really get a lot out of it as a kid.”

Read the homily from the ordination Mass from Bishop Rhoades here.

Throughout the ceremony, several different rituals were performed starting with an escort for the seminarians, deacons, priests, and Bishop Rhoades by 13 members of the Knights of Columbus.

At the beginning of the Rite of Ordination, the candidates were formally presented to Bishop Rhoades by Father Andrew Budzinski. The men lay prostrate at the altar to symbolize their unworthiness for the role they are taking and to show their reliance on God and the prayers of the Christian community in their ministry.

The seven men lay prostrate at the altar during the Rite of Ordination as part of the Mass of Ordination to the Priesthood. — Joe Romie

During the Promise of the Elect, the men were guided to declare their commitment to the priesthood and obedience to the shepherd of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese. The Litany of Supplication was a calling for prayer to God that He pours heavenly gifts in abundance to those chosen for priesthood.

In the Laying on of Hands ritual, Bishop Rhoades and the entire college of priests laid their hands on the heads of the elect per the apostolic tradition. After the Prayer for Ordination, the seven newly ordained were vested with the stole and chasuble as a sign of their priestly office.

Bishop Rhoades performs the Laying on of Hands ritual of the elect per the apostolic tradition on Father Brian Florin during the Mass of Ordination to the Priesthood. — Joe Romie

The tradition of the Anointing of Hands was a memorable moment for the congregation. They watched Bishop Rhoades anoint the palms of each new priest with chrism as a symbol of wisdom and strength. Upon anointment, priests are prepared for the duties they are part of in their new sacred ministry.

Bishop Rhoades performs the Anointing of Hands of Father Samuel Anderson during the Mass of Ordination to the Priesthood. This is where the palms of each new priest are anointed with chrism as a symbol of wisdom and strength. — Joe Romie

Since the Eucharist is at the heart of the priesthood, after their hands were anointed, the bishop handed each new priest kneeling before him a paten and chalice. “Receive the oblation of the holy people to be offered to God. Understand what you will do, imitate what you will celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s Cross,” said Bishop Rhoades.

Joe Romie

The final tradition of the Rite of Ordination is the Fraternal Kiss of Peace, first given by the bishop as a welcome into the diocesan presbyterate. This is followed by the entire presbyterate and visiting clergy offering a kiss of peace to the newly ordained.

An African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” was visually represented and acknowledged during the ordination ceremony. The church was full of men and women who guided each young man on their journey to priesthood. 

“It’s hard to put into words my feelings. This has been a very emotional day,” said Mary Krisch, mother of Father Robert “Bobby” Krisch. During the ceremony, she thought about the many people unable to be with her son on this special day, but she knew they were with him in spirit.

“Receiving communion from our son for the first time as a priest was very memorable,” noted John Krisch about an impactful part of the ceremony. Having a son as a priest takes on a whole new meaning to his faith journey.

Mary Krisch said her son’s calling came to him later in life. He had been working as a certified personal accountant (CPA) in the business world and didn’t start his exploration of the priesthood until he was in his later 20s. Faith was a strong part of his upbringing having faithful grandparents and a rosary brigade who prayed relentlessly for her son during his discernment.

“My mom had four boys and wanted one of us to become a priest,” said John Krisch. “That didn’t happen, but she did get a grandson who became a priest.”

Father Zane Langenbrunner’s parents loved being part of their son’s discernment and journey to the priesthood. “It’s so special that he got to be part of this large group. We were able to go to Rome when he was ordained as a deacon. It was the most powerful moment of my life,” said Michael Langenbrunner. “It’s been so fun for the parents of the seminarians. I hate to see it end.”

Angela Langenbrunner said many parts of the ceremony were memorable, but her greatest moments came from seeing so many familiar faces in the crowd. Reverend Barry England, the priest Father Zane Langenbrunner grew up knowing well, participated and was the official vesting priest at his ceremony. “So many people who were part of this formation came out to support him,” said Angela.

Michael Langenbrunner said his son is a personable young man who he believes will do great things as a priest. “I’m looking forward to seeing how people react to him. People have always been drawn to him,” said Michael.

Joe Romie

The day concluded with a procession out of the church, and visitors had the opportunity to receive a blessing from one of the newly ordained priests.

“Before the final blessing, allow me to say a few words of thanks. First of all, a big thank you to all involved in planning and assisting with this beautiful ordination liturgy: Brian MacMichael and Karen Fitzpatrick of our Diocesan Office of Worship, our superb MCs and servers, and the amazing choirs from here at our cathedral and St. Pius X in Granger for the beautiful sacred music today. I repeat my deepest thanks to the wonderful parents and families of our newly ordained priests. May the Lord bless you for your witness of faith and love that have brought our new priests to this day! Thank you to all the priests who have concelebrated this ordination Mass, especially the pastors and the parish families who have supported the vocations of our new priests, along with the Catholic schools where most of them received their grade and high school educations. I wish to thank Father Matthew Coonan, my Vicar for Clergy, Father Andrew Budzinski, our Diocesan Vocation Director, and his assistant, Christine Bonahoom for all their hard work. After nine years in this ministry, Father Andrew will be going to South Bend to serve as Pastor of our co-cathedral, Saint Matthew’s. Father Andrew, I can’t thank you enough for your devoted service to our seminarians these past nine years and for all you have done to promote priestly vocations in our diocese. Thank you also to all our deacons and religious sisters here present. Thank you to the members of the Serra Club of South Bend, the Blessed Solanus Casey Society of Fort Wayne, the Knights of Columbus, and to everyone who has prayed for and supported our new priests on their journey to this day. Please continue to pray for them as they begin their priestly life and ministry. Finally, Father Samuel, Father Brian, Father Robert, Father Zane, Father David, Father Jacob, and Father Ryan, thank you for saying ‘yes’ to the call of Jesus to follow Him as His faithful disciples and also now as His priests in service of the Church. Congratulations on your ordination,” said Bishop Rhoades at the end of the celebration.

Joe Romie

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