Four new Seattle archdiocesan priests cap off busy ordination period

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, at center, with newly ordained Fathers Chad Green, Colin Parrish, Christopher Hoiland and Jeffrey Moore give final blessings at the end of their June 3 ordination Mass at St. James Cathedral in Seattle. Photo: Stephen Brashear Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, at center, with newly ordained Fathers Chad Green, Colin Parrish, Christopher Hoiland and Jeffrey Moore give final blessings at the end of their June 3 ordination Mass at St. James Cathedral in Seattle. Photo: Stephen Brashear

SEATTLE – Another day, another joyful ordination for the Archdiocese of Seattle.

The June 3 priestly ordination of Fathers Chad Green, Christopher Hoiland, Jeffrey Moore and Colin Parrish came just three days after the episcopal ordination of Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg; transitional deacons Louis Cunningham, Justin Ryan and Anh Tran were ordained May 20 and 27, for a total of eight ordinations in two weeks.

“What a great day for the church in Western Washington,” Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said as the Mass began at St. James Cathedral, “a great day in which all of us are immersed in the mystery of God and the mystery of our salvation — and the mystery of four vocations.”

He thanked the four men’s families, especially their parents. “They are the ones who nurtured them and helped them to grow up to be the fine men that they are, and also planted the seeds of faith in their souls — those seeds of faith which we see come to fruition on this day.”

‘Carry out the ministry of Christ the priest with constant joy’

After the opening prayers and readings and the formal Election of the Candidates, the archbishop delivered his homily directly to the ordinands, who sat on stools in front of the ambo (“It’s rare that I get such a captive audience,” he quipped).

“In the lives of those who God calls to serve his beloved people, there is a moment — or perhaps a series of moments — when, much to our surprise, we realize that he has come to find us,” he said.

Each of the four ordinands, he said, “represents a story of God’s call, a story of God’s persistence, a story of God’s love, and a story of a man’s faith-filled response.”

“These four candidates come from varied backgrounds and have wildly different personalities — I said wildly different personalities — but God found them where they were, and as they were, and called them to be priests.”

Reflecting on “the mystery of the priesthood,” the archbishop said: “God has made his entire people a royal priesthood in Jesus Christ by virtue of baptism. But Jesus Christ, the great High Priest, chose certain disciples to carry out a priestly office in the church in his name and on behalf of all humankind. Just as Christ was sent by the Father, he in turn sent the apostles into the world, so that through them and their successors, the bishops, he might continue to be teacher, priest and shepherd. Priests are joined to their bishops in the priestly office and are our co-workers in the service of God’s people.”

He exhorted the ordinands to “devote yourselves to constant prayer, that God may make you holy.”

“Seek understanding of everything in your life through the prism of prayer,” he said, “for through prayer God shines his light upon us, he gives us his wisdom, and he changes our hearts.”

The archbishop also urged them to “carry out the ministry of Christ the priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns but to those of Christ Jesus.”

In closing, he told the four ordinands: “You look around today and you see that the cathedral is filled to overflowing. You see before you the reasons God came looking for you: He came to find you so that he might send you. Those you see here are just a very small portion of the people for whom you are called and anointed with priestly grace. Give your lives for them. As the Father sent the Son, so does the Son send you, consecrated in truth, to till and nurture and love this plentiful harvest.”

‘Bless, sanctify and consecrate these chosen men’

After the homily, the four ordinands stood together in front of the archbishop, seated in his cathedra, and declared their resolve to “discharge without fail the office of priesthood”; to preach the Gospel and teach the Catholic faith; to celebrate the sacraments “faithfully and reverently”; to pray without ceasing; and “to be united more closely every day to Christ the High Priest.”

Processing and then kneeling one by one before the archbishop, the ordinands promised “respect and obedience” to him and his successors.

Then they prostrated themselves around the altar, and the congregation chanted the litany of supplication, imploring the prayers of the saints and asking God to “bless, sanctify and consecrate these chosen men.”

After the lengthy litany, the four men rose slowly, their faces grave as they approached the heart of the ordination rite, the laying on of hands and the prayer of ordination. As they took their places beneath the crucifix, Deacon Parrish let out a puff of breath and raised his eyes to the figure of Christ on the cross.

Again the four men knelt individually before the archbishop for the laying on of hands, then proceeded to Archbishop Emeritus Alexander Brunett and Auxiliary Bishops Mueggenborg and Eusebio Elizondo; then they knelt in a semicircle around the altar, and the many priests in attendance laid hands on their heads as the choir sang Veni, Creator Spiritus (“Come, Creator Spirit”). Archbishop Sartain then pronounced the prayer of ordination.

Fathers Green, Hoiland, Moore and Parrish were then vested with their priestly stoles and chasubles (which took some doing) by important priests in their lives. The archbishop anointed their hands with chrism and presented them with bread and wine for the altar, telling them: “Receive the oblation of the holy people, to be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s cross.”

After receiving joyful embraces from the bishops and priests during the “Kiss of Peace,” the four new priests took their new seats among their brother priests, adjusted their socks and vestments, and shared smiles and sighs of contentment.

From their seats, the new priests watched intently the preparation of the altar, then joined the bishops around it to consecrate the Eucharist for the first time.

After distributing Communion, they returned to their seats. The sky had been overcast all day, but at that moment the sun shone through the cathedral’s “eye of God” window like a spotlight on the new priests, to their amusement and delight. In his remarks before the final blessing, Father Bryan Dolejsi, director of vocations, joked that the ordination had been scheduled for 10 a.m. precisely to facilitate that effect.

A few minutes later, as they processed out of the cathedral at the end of the nearly three-hour Mass, Father Hoiland pumped his fist in celebration, and the assembly applauded heartily for the Archdiocese of Seattle’s four new priests.

Kevin Birnbaum

Kevin Birnbaum is the editor/associate publisher of Northwest Catholic and a member of Seattle’s Blessed Sacrament Parish. Contact him at [email protected].

Kevin Birnbaum es el editor de la revista Noroeste Católico/Northwest Catholic y miembro de la Parroquia del Sagrado Sacramento en Seattle. Pueden contactarle en: [email protected].