SOUTH END -- On the eve of Pentecost, May 22, three men, Daniel Patrick Moloney, Guy Francis Sciacca, and Gregory Gerard Vozzo, were ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
“You men will celebrate your first Mass on the birthday of the Church,” Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley told the candidates. “There will be three new candles on the cake.”
The three men -- two from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, and one from Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Weston -- might all have come from very different backgrounds, but all of them “answered the call full of generosity,” the cardinal said, adding a special word of praise for their families “for having nurtured these vocations through your prayers and your witness.”
When Gregory Vozzo discerned he was called to the priesthood, there was one person who was not surprised: his identical twin brother, Paul.
“I can’t tell you exactly when, but I always knew God was calling him,” Paul said. “Today reminds me of when I got married, but it’s beyond that. I just have a deep happiness knowing that he has found his place in life and that this completes him.”
For Daniel Moloney, originally from Ohio, the priesthood is almost a family tradition, according to Maureen Sweeney, his first cousin.
“We always prayed that any of our cousins would discern a call to the priesthood,” she said, noting that “Father Dan” has an uncle and a grand-uncle who are priests.
According to his eighth grade teacher at St. Joseph Elementary school in Medford, Guy Sciacca was always “a very gentle faith-filled boy.” Although she lost contact with him through the years, Sister Mary Mills, CSJ, who currently lives in Framingham, saw him on Boston Catholic Television serving the Mass while she was at work at Bethany House in Framingham. She called him and the two have been reacquainted.
“I just see something special in him,” she said proudly. “He seems very happy and very much at peace.”
In a liturgy that blended the ancient rites of ordination with practical advice from the cardinal about being a priest in today’s world, the three men vowed “respect and obedience” to Cardinal O’Malley and his successors.
“Today the Holy Spirit will anoint you and the Lord will send you to bring joy to a needy world,” Cardinal O’Malley said in his homily.
“To understand the gift and mystery of the Catholic priesthood, we look to the Gospels and the epistles,” he continued, noting that the priesthood is an “all-consuming vocation” that encompasses many different services, as St. Paul details in his epistles.
“As a priest, you will be a servant of Jesus Christ and a servant of his people. You will also be called to be a servant of the cross,” he added.
The cardinal noted that today’s world, made up of people who are “heirs of Woodstock, of the drug culture...pressed for time...and addicted to entertainment,” will not be an easy place to preach the teachings of Christ.
“And yet they are hungry for God,” he stressed.
“Know that the world that hates you is the world that needs you,” he told the men.
The cardinal concluded his homily commending the men and their ministry to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Following the rite of ordination, the candidates laid prostrate as the Litany of the Saints was sung. The cardinal then prayed silently over the ordinands as he laid his hands upon their heads ordaining them to the priesthood. All the priests in the assembly were then invited to do the same.
After the priests had finished and taken their place on the altar, Cardinal O’Malley recited the Prayer of Consecration which recalls the history of the priestly role throughout the Biblical times, and asked God to “grant them the dignity of the priesthood.”
The newly ordained priests were then presented with a series of significant items: each was vested with a stole and chasuble, signs of the office of priesthood; and they were given a paten and chalice, signs of the gifts of the people.
They then took their place behind the altar where they concelebrated the Mass for the first time.
Following the liturgy, Cardinal O’Malley stated that “in a very special way, I’d like to congratulate Father Greg, Father Guy and Father Dan and their families.”
“I now charge them my stipend for their ordination -- they have to give me their first blessings,” he joked.
Then, kneeling in front of the newly ordained priests, the cardinal was blessed by the men.
Before the recessional hymn was sung, the cardinal exhorted the assembly to “pray for the sanctification of our priests” during this Year for Priests, as well as to pray for more men to heed the call of God.
“This was such a beautiful celebration,” exclaimed Virginia Filangeri, who came from New York to be a part of Father Vozzo’s ordination. “I’ve never been to an ordination before, and it was just lovely.”