On May 16, 1987 I was ordained a priest in St. Ann’s Church, Wildwood. This year I will celebrate my 25th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood.
With gratitude to Almighty God and in thanksgiving for the continued intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I will offer a Mass of Thanksgiving for family and friends at 2:30 PM on Sunday, May 20th. Naturally, you are invited to attend this special Mass, if you are so inclined.
In addition, I will be the celebrant of the 10 AM Mass that same Sunday, after which you are invited to join me in the church basement for some light refreshments. The morning Mass will be a parish-centered celebration to which I cordially invite all of you, my parishioners.
Priesthood is a special “calling” and a unique gift from God for which I will be ever grateful. Do I deserve such an honor as to share in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ? Certainly not. I am reminded of the passage from the Letter to the Hebrews:
Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. (Heb. 5: 1-4)
As I express my heartfelt gratitude to Almighty God, I realize that God has given me so much more than I have ever hoped for or expected. Most especially he has given you to me. I am honored to be your spiritual father, your pastor, your priest.
God’s love for His people is so great. It continues to be manifested through the ministry of His priests. Sinners though we are, we are reminded regularly that it is not our own talents or gifts but rather God’s grace that enables us to lead people to Christ. After all, Priesthood is never really about me but truly about Christ. To use the words of John the Baptist: “He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3: 30)
Thank you for being a part of my life and my ministry. I want you to know that I had the following inscribed on the bottom of my chalice when I was ordained: Lord, bless those who have brought me to and keep me at your altar. I depend on your prayers and support as I strive each day to be a better person and holy priest in imitation of Jesus Christ. While I may unfortunately fail in my attempts, I hope to never give up trying.
Just a few words to those who think they might be hearing the “call” to priesthood as I did: Don’t be afraid to answer His call!
Nothing that the world offers can compare to the gift of His Priesthood. Nothing.
Fr. Ed Namiotka