Cardinal ordains five new priests for Boston

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BOSTON -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley ordained five men from four different countries to the archdiocesan priesthood in a Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on May 20.

The new priests are Father Paul Born; Father Rodrigo Martinez, originally from El Salvador; Father Jose Ignacio Montero, from the Dominican Republic; Father Peter Schirripa; and Father Hien Vu, from Vietnam.

The rite of ordination began after the Liturgy of the Word. As Cardinal O'Malley called the candidates by name, each in turn stood and said "present," indicating his readiness to enter the priesthood. With the consent of the people, the cardinal elected the five men for ordination to the presbyterate.

In his homily, Cardinal O'Malley greeted the faithful in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. He acknowledged Deacon Vu's parish in Vietnam watching the livestream in their church at night, as well as his parents who had made the journey to attend his ordination in person. The Vietnamese faithful who were present, including many religious sisters, joyfully applauded when they heard the cardinal address them in their language.

Cardinal O'Malley said that the ordination was Jesus' way of keeping his promise to be with his disciples always.

"The Good Shepherd, the risen Lord, continues to gather the scattered, to feed, protect, and teach the sheep of his flock. In his priesthood, Jesus does all of this. His hands and his feet are still with us. He uses weak human beings to be his presence in the world, to be close to his flock. Today, we rejoice that these men have said yes to this wonderful vocation," the cardinal said.

He cited Pope Francis' often-quoted advice for priests: "The shepherds should have the smell of the sheep."

"That's the kind of shepherd that Christ is calling you to be. Jesus is calling you to be close to your flock, to know them and be known by them," Cardinal O'Malley said.

He talked about the priest's relationship with Jesus, his role as a teacher and shepherd, and his responsibility for the "little ones" and those on the margins.

"We live in a world where there is such hunger for forgiveness, hunger for meaning, hunger for communion with God. And God has given us the remedy for these great yearnings in the priesthood of Jesus Christ," Cardinal O'Malley said.

After the homily, the rite of ordination continued with the ordinands affirming their intention to serve in the office of priest, and promising obedience and respect to the cardinal and his successors. Then, the ordinands lay prostrate in front of the altar while the assembly prayed the Litany of Supplication.

The heart of the ordination took place as Cardinal O'Malley laid his hands on each of the elect, a sign of ordination and invocation of the Holy Spirit. The other priests present also joined in this gesture.

After the prayer of consecration, the new priests were vested with stoles and chasubles, which signify the office of the priesthood. Their hands were then anointed with the oil of chrism.

As the gifts for the Eucharist were presented, each new priest symbolically received a paten and chalice. Then, they joined the cardinal on the altar and participated in the Liturgy of the Eucharist as priests for the first time.

At the conclusion of the Mass, Cardinal O'Malley knelt and received a blessing from each of the newly ordained priests. The faithful expressed their congratulations with enthusiastic applause during the recessional.

Cecile Wisdom, a parishioner of St. Agnes in Arlington who knows Father Schirripa's family, said she was "awfully glad" that she came to the Mass.

"It's such a wonderful moment in the Church and in the Archdiocese of Boston for which we pray every day," she said.

She said the ordination Mass was "really magnificent" and "an example of the holiness that's going forth today."

"I just pray that everyone here who sometimes has disappointments or trouble and struggles in their faith will remember this day, and that'll help carry them forward, especially our new priests," she said.