“what an EMOTION, to be able to see how one is made a priest,” said, one was to attend the ceremony of the ordination of José Ferney in the church of his village, San Isidro del Ariari, a beautiful little village in the department of El Meta, Colombia.
The emotion was strong and spread to all participants, albeit for various reasons. There were many factors that contributed to this celebration being celebrated. First, Joseph’s desire to be ordained in his village where his whole family lives. Secondly, the availability and contentment of Monsignor José Figuerora, Bishop of Granada’s diocese, to which the village of José belongs. Third, the openness and disposition of the parish priest, the full conformity of the blood family of Joseph and of the Mariannhill Family. Finally, even the weather forecast was very favorable.
In a simple, dignified, solemn and family atmosphere began the ceremony. The processional entry to the Church, led by the altar boys, followed by the one who was to be ordained, accompanied by mother and sister, and by the priests of the Diocese of Granada and of the Congregation of Mariannhill, who preceded the Bishop, raised the emotional level of the many people filling the temple.
The ceremony recovered the atmosphere of simplicity and closeness when the Bishop greeted the people in such a simple way that he made everyone feel not only as mere assistants but as active participants. In the homily, the Bishop made it very clear what was the most significant of being a priest: to be a faithful servant to God, humble with himself and generous to all others.
These traits were understood by the people when Joseph fell to the ground for the singing of the litany of the saints; the Bishop explained it by saying that in order to be faithful to God one must die to oneself and to rise up, ready to die for others. Tears ran down the cheeks of many as they all responded to the Saints’ acclamations with a strong “we pray to you Lord, hear us.”
The laying of hands on the one to be ordained, first by the Bishop and then by the priests, further raised the emotion having heard the Bishop saying, that this was the peak moment of ordination when Joseph will become a priest. The silence of that moment was so deep that, as someone later said, you could feel the descent of the Holy Ghost. The imposition of the new priest’s garments, the consecration of hands, the handing over to him of the chalice and the patena, followed by the embrace given to the new priest by the Bishop and other priests, broke the emotion of many in tears and of all orders in contentment.
At the end of the ceremony, Joseph reminded all, from his simplicity and humility, that if he had reached this point it was because he had believed in God and because the people of his family, his village, his formators, and others who saw him grow, had believed in him.
To all of them, Joseph wanted to thank with a few words; emotion made it difficult to verbally pronounce these words, but all people present heard those words coming out of Joseph’s heart and responded with a long applause.
People learned not only how a person “becomes a priest,” but they realized that, themselves, had also helped Joseph to “become a priest” and that filled them with CONTENTMENT and celebrated it with great joy.