EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: An extraordinary ordination in NYC

By May 30, 2018Church
EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: An extraordinary ordination in NYC

Twin brothers become twin priests

As the sun slowly rose on Manhattan sending its rays into the dark corridors between the skyscrapers, a familiar scene was unfolding before the massive doors of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. Scores of people dressed in their finest clothes scurried across the sidewalk with smiling eyes and tense laughter, exchanging hugs and warm words of welcome as they made their way into “America’s parish church.”

The day is Saturday, May 26, 2018. And on this day, before parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, friends and family, nine men would lay their lives down in the service of the Gospel to be ordained as priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

“I just want one picture of me vesting my brother …” said Fr. Innocent Montgomery C.F.R. moments before the procession began. Fr. Innocent was speaking of his twin brother, Br. Angelus Immaculata Montgomery C.F.R., who was among those to be ordained. Twin brothers would soon be twin priests.

As the countless pews were filled and the flowing vestments of the hundreds of clergy lining up looked like a sea of white linen, the nine stood with nervous excitement as the steel pipes of the stories-high organ breathed its first notes, piercing the din of conversation and announcing that this was about to begin.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan with his hallmark joyful exuberance took his place at the seat of the bishop as the names of those presenting themselves for ordination were called by Br. Gabriel Emmanuel Monahan, C.F.R.. One by one, they presented themselves, each being singularly called by Christ to serve His people in the role of priest, each echoing Mary’s “Yes” to the will of God.

As the Cardinal laid his hands upon the heads of each of the men, a soul-deep transformation occurred before the eyes of the thousands gathered and an indelible mark was formed on each of their souls: ”You are a priest forever …”

When the Rite of Ordination silently concluded, the congregation erupted in applause, tears streaming and hearts overflowing. No longer were these men just sons and brothers, they were now able to deliver Christ’s mercy and Christ’s very presence through the sacraments. They were now priests.

As the Mass transitioned to Liturgy of the Eucharist, Cardinal Dolan elevated the host and at the moment of consecration and along with all the clergy, the nine uttered Jesus’ words “This is My Body …” in persona Christi, their first sacramental act as priests.

At the conclusion of the Mass each went to separate areas in the cathedral to offer their first priestly blessings to those who requested them, and their ministry had begun.

So what makes this ordination extraordinary? Perhaps it’s that it’s New York, or perhaps it’s that it’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, or maybe it’s because among the ordained were two brothers, twins even, who stood together at the same altar.

But perhaps it’s none of those things.

Perhaps it’s that in this broken and wounded world, in the heart of the city, God still calls and people still respond. And in spite of all the world would tempt with, there are those who, cooperating with grace, humble themselves to serve as Christ did some 2,000 years earlier. So perhaps what makes this ordination extraordinary is that it’s an ordination, and, in fact, every ordination is extraordinary.

Now see the story in pictures!

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You can’t be serious all of the time.

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The Ordinandi moments before the start.

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Br. Angelus and Br. Pierre Toussaint waiting for the procession to begin.

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Br. Gabriel, who was ordained a transitional deacon a week earlier, stands before the altar.

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Ready to go.

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And the procession begins.

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Whoever polishes the floors does a pretty good job.

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Fr. Bernardino, who was ordained 2 years earlier on May 28, processes up.

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Br. Angelus’ twin brother, Fr. Innocent.

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The pastor of America’s parish church, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

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Br. Mark Mary Maximilian C.F.R. about to be ordained as well.

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Fr. Innocent and Fr. Glen.

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Cardinal Dolan in the bishop’s seat.

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Br. Francesco Mary Gavazzi C.F.R., one of the nine.

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Cardinal Dolan prays the opening prayer.

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The nine.

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Br. Gabriel calls the names of those to be ordained.

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A rousing round of applause after the names are read.

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The nine present themselves to the Cardinal making the Promise of Obedience.

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Deacon Michael Connolly is the first to make his Promise of Obedience.

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Br. Pierre making his Promise of Obedience.

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Finally, Br. Angelus goes.

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The Litany of Supplication begins.

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The Litany of the Saints is sung as they pray that God sends His Holy Spirit and that the saints intercede as the faithful join their prayers with the Cardinal.

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As Cardinal Dolan lays his hand on each man’s head …

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… the gift of the Holy Spirit is conferred upon each.

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It is at this moment …

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… that the Holy Spirit is invoked to come down upon each, giving him a sacred character and setting him apart for the designated ministry.

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What follows is that all the priests lay their hands on the Ordinands. Fr. John Paul Ouellette C.F.R., lays his hands on Fr. Angelus.

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Fr. Glen Sudano lays his hands on Fr. Angelus.

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