The ordination of five priests is a moment of “incredible joy” for the Archdiocese of Baltimore
As five newly ordained priests slowly walked down the long central aisle of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen at the end of their June 18 ordination mass, it was only fitting that many who filled the Cathedral of the Fatherland greeted them with a chorus of high trills. .
Three of the new priests are from the West African nation of Cameroon, where vocal ululations are commonly used to express unfettered joy.
This emotion was evident on the faces of the people who clapped, waved above their heads and cheered the newly ordained priests as they passed. It was also evident in the beaming faces of the clerics themselves.
Father Maurice Sunde Afor, from Nkambe, Cameroon, described the ordination as a moment of great joy. Even after spending 13 years in seminary — in Africa, Rome, and St. Mary’s Seminary at Roland Park — he said his long-awaited day came as a “surprise.”
“It finally happened,” said Father Sunde Afor, standing in the shrine after his ordination as people thronged for him to take pictures. “I thank God and I thank all the people who have come here for me, praying for me. From this day on, I want to be with people and pray for them.
Father Peter Kiamo-oh and Father Kenneth N. Lukong were the other Cameroonians to receive the Sacrament of Orders. Americans ordained to the priesthood include Father James Bors and Father David CF Ray.
Archbishop William E. Lori led the two-and-a-half-hour ordination liturgy. He was joined by Bishop George Nkou of Kumbo Diocese in Cameroon; Auxiliary Bishops of Baltimore Adam Parker and Bruce Lewandowski, C.Ss.R., and retired Bishop of Baltimore Denis J. Madden.
Dozens of seminarians were present for the celebration, as well as more than 25 deacons and more than 90 priests.
Since 2016, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has collaborated with the Catholic Church in Cameroon to welcome seminarians to the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
In his homily, Bishop Lori greeted some 2,000 people and caused laughter when he jokingly referred to Bishop Nkou as a “donor bishop”. The Archbishop reiterated that the celebration of ordination was a day of joy for the whole Archdiocese “from stem to stern.” He noted that with a significant number of men expected to be ordained in the coming years, there would soon be 20 new priests serving the archdiocese.
“Such a thing has not happened here in decades,” Bishop Lori said, adding that next year he expects 60 seminarians to be in training to become priests in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
“The ordination of more priests means that new doors of evangelization will open as young priests begin to serve in parishes and in ministries hitherto not filled by priests, such as high school chaplaincies and campus ministry,” Bishop Lori said, urging the congregation to stay. vigilant in prayer for more vocations.
Addressing the men he was to ordain, the Archbishop said they were ordained for holiness and for mission.
“You are ordained not only to preserve the status quo,” he told them, “but rather to bring new energy, new joy, new gifts of the Spirit to the mission of evangelism in the Archdiocese of Baltimore”.
During the ordination rite, candidates for the priesthood prostrated themselves in the sanctuary while the congregation solemnly sang the litany of the saints.
Archbishop Lori placed his hands on their heads as he silently bestowed the gift of the Holy Spirit – a gesture that was repeated by the many priests present. The new priests were then clothed in stoles and chasubles before the archbishop anointed their hands and presented each with a paten and chalice.
One by one, the priests of the archdiocese joined the archbishop and the other bishops in giving the new priests a fraternal kiss.
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Father Bors, a retired naval officer and longtime parishioner of St. Andrew by the Bay in Annapolis, said he dedicated his priesthood to his late wife, Shirley. His priestly ordination took place on the anniversary of his baptism.
“All I have is a gift – my whole life is a gift,” he told the Catholic Review. “My calling to marriage was a gift and now my calling to the priesthood and people of God is a beautiful gift, and I just pray that I can faithfully fulfill the responsibilities the Lord has given me.”
Jeffery Bors, father Bors’ youngest son, said he was happy for his father.
“When he told us that was what he wanted to do after my mother died, I was happy he found what he was called to do and I’m proud of him,” Jeffery Bors said. .
Bors said his father had “a lot of initiative”.
“Wherever he goes, he always starts Bible studies and tries to bring people into the church and make people feel at home,” Jeffery Bors said.
Gladys Muma stood in line to receive a priestly blessing from Father Lukong. She has known the fellow Cameroonian since he was a teenager.
“I am so overwhelmed and so happy to receive a blessing from a newly appointed priest,” she said with a smile.
George Venyelle, from Cameroon whose wife is a cousin of Father Kiamo-oh, wore a striking emerald green African outfit and cattle horn necklace for the special day. Moments before receiving a blessing from Father Kiamo-oh, Venyelle smiled as she noted that the new priest’s touch “could uplift my spirit.”
After his ordination, Father Ray said he was grateful to be called to ministry. The laying on of hands by the Archbishop was a highlight, he said.
“It’s the tradition of the days of the apostles,” said Father Ray. “They laid hands on people to continue their ministry. It was special to know that I was part of this incredible legacy.
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