This past Monday May 10, I celebrated the anniversary of my Ordination to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ. I vividly recall that day as the bishop who ordained me laid on hands, the ancient gesture found in Sacred Scripture, and prayed the prayer of consecration over me. He poured an abundance of Sacred Chrism over my hands, anointing them to offer sacrifice on behalf of the people, forgive sins in the Name of Jesus, and anoint the sick for healing. I recall the words of his homily, in particular when he said, “May the greatest joy of your priesthood be the celebration of the Eucharist with your people.”
The years have gone by fast and the people I have been blessed to know and serve are countless. How good God is!
The priesthood is a wonderful way of life. To hear those words of Jesus, “It was not you who choose me, but I who choose you,” are very humbling. Why God chooses those he does is both a gift and mystery.
This weekend I had the great honor of participating in the Mass of Ordination for three of our newly ordained priests for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Not only that, but I was blessed with the great honor of vesting one of them in his priestly vestments, that being, Father Michael Lawinger.
I have known Father Michael since 8th grade when he was a student at St. Anthony Parish School in Menomonee Falls. It has been a privilege to walk with him through his high school, college, and years of formation at St. Francis Seminary. I have seen him grow into the outstanding young man he is today and know that our archdiocese is blessed with a new priest who is holy and dedicated to the sacred ministry entrusted to his care. Father Michael has been assigned to Christ King/St. Bernard’s in Wauwatosa. What a gift to those two parish communities.
As the Archbishop prayed the Preface of the Mass it brought back so many wonderful memories. “For Christ not only adorns with a royal priesthood the people he has made his own, but with a brother’s kindness he also chooses men to become sharers in his sacred ministry through the laying on of hands.”
“They are to renew in his name the sacrifice of human redemption, to set before your children the paschal banquet, to lead your people in charity, to nourish them with your word and strengthen them with the Sacraments.”
“As they give up their lives for you and for the salvation of their brothers and sisters, they strive to be conformed to the image of Christ himself and offer you a constant witness of faith and love.”
Please keep our newly ordained priests in your prayers: Father Michael Lawinger, Father Michael Malucha and Father Timothy Schumaker. Also, keep in prayer those men who are in formation for priestly ministry, especially Oliver Niles from St. Joseph Parish. It is the power of prayer that sustains them and keeps them close to Christ the Head and Shepherd.
– Fr. Dennis, May 16, 2021