Cardinal Wuerl Ordains Six Men to the Priesthood

“In a world that cries out in hunger for things of the Spirit, for the Word of God, you must bring God’s wisdom revealed in the teaching of Christ.”

June 15, 2013

Reflecting on priestly ministry, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington reminded the six men being ordained to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Washington that they were being ordained in the Year of Faith. “The Creed which is the core announcement of what identifies us as followers of Jesus should always be at the heart of your preaching, your teaching, your leading and your sanctifying,” said the Cardinal.

Cardinal Wuerl ordained Francisco Aguirre, Rafael Barbieri, Mark Cusick, Shaun Foggo, Scott Holmer and Samuel Plummer at the June 15, 2013 Mass of Priesthood Ordination at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

“Your ministry is more than simply your work. Yours is not a job, a task, even a service alone. It is a living participation in the ever-present, ever-active mission of Christ in the world,” said Cardinal Wuerl in his homily. “You are ordained to a way of being which is far more than simply a call to function in the community.”

“Living the faith and sharing the excitement of our experience of the Lord brings us into contact and even contrast with the mentality and culture of our day. You must not yield to the temptation to see your ministry only in the light of how well what you say is received or how you might be applauded for your political correctness. These are the challenges you will face as the heralds of the New Evangelization and agents of the Holy Spirit at work transforming this world and manifesting God’s kingdom,” he said.

The Cardinal referenced a homily Pope Francis delivered at the Mass for the beginning of his pontificate on the reminder that the power Jesus gave Peter was the power to serve. “’Jesus’ three questions to Peter about love are followed by [the] commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep. Let us never forget that authentic power is service…which has its radiant culmination on the Cross.’ Through our configuration to Jesus Christ in priesthood, the Lord’s power is manifest in our faithful, loving service to the people of God,” said the Cardinal.

The Cardinal concluded his homily, “Always be open to the gift of the Spirit. It is the movement of the Spirit that has led you along this path, it is the nudging of the Spirit that brings you to this moment and it is in the outpouring of the Spirit that you will walk united with Christ at the service of his Bride, the Church.”

After making a promise of obedience to the Cardinal and his successors, the six men lay prostrate before the altar, symbolizing their total giving of self, just as Jesus laid down his life to bring salvation to the world.

The litany of saints was then sung and included the names of apostles and martyrs from the early Church and also holy women and men of recent times, including St. Kateri Tekewitha, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II.

Then, in a gesture of apostolic origin, Cardinal Wuerl laid hands on each candidate’s head, the essential act of ordination, as a sign that the Holy Spirit is poured out upon them. The more than 100 concelebrating priests also laid hands on the heads of the new priests.

The six new priests were then clothed with the stole and chasuble, the vestments of the priestly office, and Cardinal Wuerl anointed their hands with Sacred Chrism. After receiving the offertory gifts from family members of the new priests, the Cardinal handed the paten and chalice to the newly ordained, and offered them the sign of peace, as did their new brother priests.

Moments later, the six new priests joined their archbishop at the altar for the consecration. The Mass concluded with a blessing from the Cardinal, “May God, who founded the Church and guides her still, protect you constantly with his grace, that you may faithfully discharge the duties of the priesthood.” The six new priests then offered their first blessing to those at the Mass, and then processed down the aisle to applause and cheers.

Downstairs in designated chapels, hundreds lined up to receive a personal blessing from the new priests, including family members, friends and some of their brother priests.

Father Aguirre will celebrate his first Mass on June 16, 2013, at 12:00 p.m. at the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda. Father Barbieri will celebrate his first Mass on June 16, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Michael the Archangel in Silver Spring. Father Cusick will celebrate his first Mass on June 16, 2013, at 12:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rockville. Father Foggo will celebrate his first Mass on June 16, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. at St. Jerome Catholic Church in Hyattsville. Father Holmer will celebrate his first Mass on June 15, 2013, at 5:00 p.m. at the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda. Father Plummer will celebrate his first Mass on June 16, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Peter Catholic Church in Waldorf.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Chieko Noguchi
Secretariat for Communications
[email protected]