6/6/2017 11:50:00 AM Ordinations a high point for the church Smiles irrepressible in St. Mary Cathedral as lay people and clergy celebrate two new archdiocesan priests
Deacons Zani Pacanza and Hans Mueller kneel at the altar at St. Mary Cathedral Saturday, June 3. By the end of the ordination Mass they would be Fathers Pacanza and Mueller. Rick Keating/Catholic Sentinel
Newly ordained Father Hans Mueller blesses Donna Charko at the reception following the ordination Mass at St. Mary Cathedral Saturday June 3. Rick Keating/Catholic Sentinel
More than 500 people filled St. Mary Cathedral June 3 for the ordination Mass for Fathers Zani Pacanza and Hans Mueller.
Both lay people and clergy at the ordination expressed how the ordinations refreshed their own faith.
Rodrigo Llorente came partly because he enjoyed conversations about the faith at Mount Angel Seminary with then-Deacon Pacanza.
More than that, though, he said the rite itself drew him to the cathedral. “Every priestly ordination inspires us in our faith,” he said.
Richard Freeman, another congregant, met both of the new priests at Quo Vadis Days, the archdiocesan camp where young men learn about the priesthood. “They’ll both be good priests,” said Freeman, who added that he too thinks about the priesthood.
Pam McLean, a parishioner at St. Joseph in Salem, came because she knows the Mueller family, who are active parishioners at St. Joseph. “What a wonderful day,” she said.
As the 50-some priests processed in as the Mass began, some were solemn but many showed their happiness at the day. They smiled and even grinned at the crowd of well-wishers filling the pews.
“What great joy fills this church in Western Oregon,” Archbishop Alexander Sample said as he welcomed the people.
The archbishop noted that this year was the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Mary at Fatima in Portugal. He compared Mary’s “yes” to God with the “yes” that a priest says on the day of his priestly ordination.
Archbishop Sample mused on how Mary’s assent brought about the incarnation and thus the priesthood itself.
“Mary feels a special closeness to the priest because she feels the sacramental presence of her son,” he said. “How could she not love you?”
Just as Mary’s “yes” brought her joy, it also brought her “to the foot of the cross, where her heart was pierced,” he added. The archbishop warned the two being ordained that their “yes” would be no different, bringing them both unexpected joy and sorrow. “Surrender yourselves to Christ,” he advised.
The three young priests who were ordained last year were at the ordination. Fathers Arjie Dacua Garcia, Tetzel Umingli and Anthony Chijioke Ahamefule stood together outside the cathedral afterwards sharing notes.
“It brings me back to my own ordination,” said Father Umingli. “This reinforces my own promise to serve.”
“I thought, ‘yes,’” said Father Dacua Garcia. “This is what I said ‘yes’ to.”
“The smiles and happiness really struck me,” said Father Chijioke. “I was thinking, ‘These are the people we’re called to serve.’”
“Ordinations are always a high point for us priests,” Archbishop John Vlazny explained as he left the Mass. “We remember our own ordinations and we celebrate the new priests.”
Archbishop Vlazny was the Archbishop of Portland when Fathers Mueller and Pacanza joined the seminary, and so he knows them. “These are good men,” he said.