On June 27, 2015, at Bishop Stika’s special invitation, three Handmaids of the Precious Blood had the privilege of representing our community at the ordinations of Father Jesús Guerrero-Rodriguez, Father Michael Hendershott, Father Ray Powell, and Father Scott Russell.
Not surprisingly, the Sisters came home ecstatic over the whole wonderful day. Prominent in their observations were not only the ordinations themselves, but the evident and palpable joy they witnessed in all the priests they happened to meet.
Our Founder, Father Gerald, sP, began our community with the mission of pouring our lives out, like the Precious Blood, for the sanctification of priests, especially those in spiritual need. As such, in our 68 year history, we have grown accustomed to the prayer requests for priests who have fallen under their burdens, struggled with discouragement, loneliness, burn-out and a host of other crosses than can consume even the best of priests.
Consequently, to witness in these critical times four young men laying down their lives for Christ as his priests was inspirational for our Sisters attending, and for our entire community. One Handmaid was delighted to observe the new priests, radiant as they distributed Holy Communion, and noticed that all the concelebrants kneeling in the pews ahead were filled with this same joy…a strong witness to their love of their vocation of bringing Christ to souls. We can never underestimate the power of Joy in the face of a priest; it leads souls closer to Christ and likely many a young man to the priesthood.
In his homily, Bishop Stika used the response the ordinands give, “Present”, to describe them as “presents”, gifts to the Church. As our Sisters listened, they remembered a motto of our Founder,
“The Priesthood is God’s greatest gift to man,
it’s faithful fulfillment is man’s greatest gift to God.”
Toward the end of the Mass, prior to dismissal, Bishop Stika thanked the Handmaids for attending and again reminded the priests of our mission to pray for them. That they listened was amply demonstrated, for many seminarians and priests asked for our prayers while we waited for the blessings of the newly ordained.
Thank you, dear Bishop, for allowing us the opportunity to witness an event we will all cherish as a community.
Thank you, dear priests, for the gift you have made of yourselves to God.