If anyone wants to witness an outpouring of the Holy Spirit outside of a confirmation Mass, mark your calendars for June 3 when three men will be ordained to the priesthood. It was the Holy Spirit who called Dcns. Daniel Cruz, Timothy Seavey and Br. Anthansius Fornwalt, FHS, to the sacerdotal ministry and not just because their special day falls on the vigil of the feast of Pentecost.
This year’s priestly ordination Mass will be held in a new venue: All Saints Parish in Mesa. At 1,600 seats, there should be adequate space for reserved seats and open ones.
Rising from their pews filled with family and other loved ones when their name is called, the three men will approach the altar and, through a series of vocal and silent prayers, become priests. Two are from the East Valley and a third is already breathing new faith-filled life across the Gila River Indian Reservation and other special mission sites as a Franciscan Friar of the Holy Spirit.
Br. Athansius hails from Pennsylvania, both as an individual and as a seventh-year Franciscan Friar TOR before answering the Holy Spirit’s call to go on a mission. That landed him in Arizona two years ago this month. In just over two weeks, he will be the first Franciscan Friar of the Holy Spirit to be ordained a priest. Five others were incardinated as diocesan priests last year.
“He’s real fiery and fervent” with the gifts to lead and teach praise and worship, explained Fr. Alcuin Hurl, FHS, formation director for the friars. He’s also gifted in youth ministry and ecumenism.
“I’m excited to see his family, his mother especially, after so many years. I’m excited to see the look on his mother’s face,” Fr. Alcuin said.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted advises newly ordained priests to “have full confidence in the loving providence of God. Whenever He calls us to a mission in His name, He always provides all the grace we need to carry out His will.”
For Dcn. Cruz, that grace became evident during the Year for Priests. He credited the prayers of the faithful for the grace to say “yes” just like the Blessed Mother did. The Holy Spirit had already stirred his heart each time he supported various parish ministries including bringing Communion to the sick.
Dcn. Cruz continues to offer himself “this choice as a beloved son to accept and confirm this special call to the priesthood,” according to his seminarian bio.
Dcn. Seavey said he sees the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete — whose Greek origins mean “alongside” and “to call” — at work in his discernment journey too. He can’t help but think about the first chapter of Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you … a prophet to the nations I appointed you.”
“Serendipitously, I received an icon of the Pentecost from a dear friend just before entering seminary. Once I was told the date of the ordination and realizing that I would be celebrating my first Mass on Pentecost, that icon became a great reminder that God has been preparing me for this vocation long before I could imagine,” Dcn. Seavey said.
And he wants the beautiful surprises of gifts and grace to continue on ordination day. Dcn. Seavey is trying not to hold too many expectations, but knows that the gesture of full prostration is a special moment when “the entirety of heaven is praying.” That moment could be even more poignant in a church dedicated to all the saints.
10 a.m. June 3
All Saints Parish, 1534 N. Recker Road, Mesa
Masses of Thanksgiving
- Fr. Athanasius Fornwalt, FHS
6 p.m. June 3
St. John the Baptist Parish, 5407 W. Pecos Rd., Laveen
- Fr. Daniel Cruz
Noon, June 4
Holy Cross Parish, 1244 S. Power Rd., Mesa
- Fr. Timothy Seavey
5 p.m. June 4
St. Timothy Parish, 1730 W. Guadalupe Rd., Mesa
9 a.m. May 28
Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, 6351 N. 27th Ave.
Ordination Masses are signs of faithful families and a vibrant parish life, said Fr. Paul Sullivan, director of vocations. Youth groups, especially, provide outreach to young people that guide them in their relationship with Jesus Christ, he said.
“It is a great sign of hope for our Church when pastors and parishes attend to the young people in their community,” Fr. Sullivan said.
Seminary life helps men become more aware of who they are and who God is in an “environment that is based on fraternity and the search for virtue and union with Christ,” he said.
The final year of seminary merges academic and formation work within the context of being a cleric of the Church. “While the sacramental theology was studied earlier, the actual administering of those sacraments is what is considered. This is very important as the priest must be a bridge to God’s people on behalf of His Church,” Fr. Sullivan said.
He called ordinands a “sign of great hope” and a “sign of answered prayers of the faithful. At this point, there is no telling how these men, though faithfulness to the Lord, will impact our Church communities.”
The Sunday before the priestly ordination, fellow seminarian John Nahrgang will be ordained a transitional deacon at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. God willing Nahrgang will be ordained a priest next year with another seminarian, Vinhson Nguyen.