Grimditch, Kenney and Sperry ‘consecrated as eternal priests of the new covenant, to preach the Gospel and celebrate the liturgy’
It was standing room only for families, friends and supporters who packed Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral June 28 to witness Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted ordain Kevin Grimditch, Keith Kenney and Scott Sperry to the priesthood.
Bishop Olmsted said it was God’s love and providence that prepared the three men for ordination.
They join some 477 new priests in dioceses and religious orders who were ordained throughout the United States this year.
“Consider carefully the rank in the Church to which they are about to be ordained,” the bishop said in his homily. Jesus chose certain Apostles so that, through them and the bishops, He might continue to exercise His office as priest, the bishop said.
“In being configured to Christ, the eternal high priest… they will be consecrated as eternal priests of the new covenant, to preach the Gospel and celebrate the liturgy,” Bishop Olmsted said.
He spoke of the many challeges the men would face, such as the culture of death, violence and threats to religious liberties.
“We need faithful men who tenderly love the Virgin Mary and the Church,” the bishop said, who noted the ordination taking place on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. “We need priests who live and preach the word of God, who celebrate the Mass with joy and deep love. We pray to God that He will send His grace and blessings on them. Let them always be faithful and generous servants of Christ the Good Shepherd.”
During the Ordination Rite, the bishop reminded the priests-to-be of their role as Christ the teacher. He encouraged them to believe what they read, teach what they believe and practice what they teach.
“Let what you teach be nourishment for the people of God so that by word and example, you can build up the house of God, which is His Church,” the bishop said.
The men, standing at the foot of the altar, resolved to celebrate faithfully the Eucharist and sacrament of reconciliation. They also vowed to pray without ceasing and be united more closely every day to Christ.
One by one, Grimditch, Kenney and Sperry knelt before the bishop, promising him their respect and obedience. They laid prostrate in a single file line in front of the altar as those in the church chanted a litany of saints.
When they arose, the bishop laid his hands on the head of each ordinand, and then dozens of fellow priests from throughout the diocese followed suit. The bishop then anointed the hands of the diocese’s newest priests.
Each of those moments was pivotal for newly ordained Fr. Kenney. He called them the most profound moments of his life.
“It’s that sense of you belong to a brotherhood that’s something supernatural,” he explained after Mass.
The three newest priests gave blessings for two hours during a reception following the Mass.
“It’s not my priesthood. It’s Jesus’ priesthood and He shared it with the Apostles. That makes us brothers by grace,” Fr. Kenney said.
Fr. Sperry found those moments when he encountered the bishop profound.
“Just watching the bishop’s face — he is our pastor and our father and to know that my priesthood shares in his priesthood gives me great joy,” Fr. Sperry said.
The three new priests concelebrated the liturgy of the Eucharist with the bishop. That moment was key for Fr. Grimditch, especially during the elevation as he held the body of Christ in his hands.
“To be so intimately involved in the sacrifice, that was really what stood out,” Fr. Grimditch said.