'Blessed day': Diocese adds six priests
A standing-room-only crowd packed St. Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday, May 24, to celebrate the ordination of the Diocese of Peoria’s six newest priests and two transitional deacons.
"What a blessed, grace-filled and happy day in the life of the Diocese of Peoria!" said Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, as he welcomed the assembly of priests, deacons, religious and laity -- including the families and friends of the newly ordained.
Songs of praise and thanksgiving giving rang out in the cathedral as Bishop Jenky ordained Father Gary Blake, 37; Father Douglas Grandon, 49; Father Geoffrey Horton, 43; Father Robert Lampitt, 29; Father Kevin Lucas, 26; and Father Dustin Schultz, 28, to the priesthood, and seminarians David Sabel, 55, and Adam Stimpson, 27, to the transitional diaconate.
Prior to Mass, the children’s choir from Immaculate Conception Parish, Monmouth, sang joyful preludes. Then, as deacons and priests from throughout the diocese formed a long procession at the start of the Ordination Mass, the St. Mary’s Cathedral Schola chanted the words of Psalm 24.
The ordination rites for both the priests and the transitional deacons took place after the proclaiming of the Gospel. The candidates were called forward by Father Brian Brownsey, diocesan director of vocations.
Bishop Jenky told the six candidates for the priesthood they must "strive to put to death whatever in your members is sinful" since they are set apart to celebrate the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Because priests are to be "united with the bishop and subject to him," they have a duty to "strive to bring the faithful together into one family," the bishop said.
After his homily, Bishop Jenky received the promises of faithfulness and obedience from the eight candidates for ordination, each of them answering, "I do," when asked to give their solemn promises. The ordinandi then lay prostrate on the sanctuary floor as the assembly chanted the Litany of Saints.
With the two candidates for the transitional diaconate kneeling before him, the bishop prayed that the Holy Spirit would be sent "that they may be strengthened by the gift of your sevenfold grace for the faithful carrying out of the work of the ministry."
After the prayer of consecration, the new transitional deacons vested in stole and dalmatic, the traditional vestments of the diaconate.
Deacon Sabel, a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Silvis, was vested by Deacon Matthew Levy, who serves at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Silvis. The vesting priest of Deacon Stimpson, of St. Mary’s Parish, Rock Island, was Msgr. Paul Langsfeld, rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.
Presenting the new deacons with the Book of the Gospels, Bishop Jenky instructed them, "Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach."
The six candidates for the priesthood then knelt before the bishop, who laid his hands on them, praying that God the Father would "pour out abundantly the gifts of heaven" on them.
The six ordinandi remained kneeling for several minutes as the priests of the diocese came forward, joining their prayers to Bishop Jenky’s as they laid hands on their new brothers.
Bishop Jenky then consecrated them as priests, praying "that by their preaching and through the grace of the Holy Spirit, the words of the Gospel may bear fruit in human hearts and reach even to the ends of the earth."
The diocese’s newest priests then vested in stole and chasuble. Father Blake was vested by Father Timothy Nolan, pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish, Pekin. Father Grandon was vested by Msgr. Dale Wellman, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Moline.
Assisting Father Horton as vesting priest was Father Gary Caster, a chaplain in Newman ministry at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. Father Lampitt was vested by Father Stanley Deptula, director of the diocesan Office of Divine Worship and executive director of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation and cause for beatification.
Father Lucas was vested by Msgr. William Watson, pastor of St. Thomas Parish, Peoria Heights, and Father Brian Brownsey, director of the diocesan Office of Vocations, was the vesting priest of Father Schultz.
Bishop Jenky then anointed the palms of the new priests with Sacred Chrism.
When the gifts of bread and wine had been brought forward, Bishop Jenky presented the paten and chalice to each of the six new priests, telling them, "Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s cross."
Afterward, Bishop Jenky embraced the new priests and deacons in a sign of peace. The new priests then were embraced by their seminary representatives and vesting priests, and the new deacons were embraced by the deacons of the diocese.
The new priests then concelebrated their first Mass with Bishop Jenky and the priests of the diocese.
As the Mass drew to a close, Bishop Jenky asked "my newest spiritual sons" to join him in bestowing the final blessing. He also claimed the privilege of the first blessings of his newest priests, which he said are "rich with grace." After Mass, six long lines formed as people came forward to receive first blessings.