Bishop Loverde Ordains Four Men to Priesthood

More than 1,000 people filled the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington last Saturday to witness the ordination of four men to the priesthood. 

The newly ordained priests were Ram?n A. B?ez, appointed parochial vicar at St. Anthony Parish in Falls Church; Daniel F. Hanley, who will be parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish in Alexandria; Andrew J. Heintz, who will serve as parochial vicar at St. William of York Parish in Stafford; and James R. Searby, named parochial vicar at Holy Spirit Parish in Annandale.

?Words just fail to express the joy that is in all of our hearts today. In answering the call to the priesthood, these four men put themselves selflessly at the service of all in our diocesan Church,? Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde said.

?With grateful and joyous hearts we welcome these four priests to our growing diocese. May they be icons of Jesus Christ in our midst, and may God truly bless their ministry in years to come,? said the bishop.

The bishop was assisted at the Mass by Fathers Paul de Ladurantaye, Richard Mullins and Paul Scalia, and by Brother David Eddy. Auxiliary Bishop of Philadephia Michael F. Burbidge concelebrated the Mass along with diocesan priests, Fathers Robert J. Rippy, Cathedral Rector, and Brian Bashista, director of vocations. Several nuns, deacons and seminarians also participated in the ceremony.

"I am the happiest woman in the world. I gave a son, and I received a priest," said Vanny Marrero, mother of Father B?ez.
In reference to her emotions during the ordination, Marrero said ?there are no words to describe that special moment."

"The Mass was beautiful, very spiritual," said Loretta Ferguson after she and her husband and children were blessed by her brother, Father Hanley.

Ann Nguyen and her son Pio, three-month old, were among the parishioners from St. Michael in Annandale attending the Mass. She had a special reason for attending the ordination.

The Vietnamese woman said that during Father Tran's ordination last year she asked the bishop and the newly ordained priest to bless her since she had been unable to conceive. Some time after the blessing she learned that she was expecting a baby.
"Given that God has sent me this boy, Pio, now my obligation is to give him back to the Church for I am sure Pio will be a priest," she said.

Lola Williams from Holy Spirit Parish in Annandale said, after she was blessed by Father Searby that she felt very emotional and close to tears. She enjoyed seeing him vested with stole and chasuble.

"I hope at least two of my three sons will be priests. But my wish is that the three will chose the same vocation ?priesthood," said Williams in commenting on Bishop Loverde?s call for vocations inside the family.

"The family is God's first call," the bishop said.

Among dozens of people blessed by Father Heintz was Theresa Apicella, who has known the new priest since he was a boy. ?I attended school with his mother, who passed away. I feel very happy for Andrew, he will be a very good priest. I wish his mother could be here on this special day," said Apicella.
Mar?a Jim?nez, parishioner form Blessed Sacrament Parish in Alexandria said she was happy and surprised to see that all the new priests were very young because ?our youth needs role models.?
After the Mass the bishop, the new priests and their families posed for pictures at the Cathedral entrance, and then joined hundreds for a reception in Burke Hall sponsored by the Serra Club of Arlington and parishioners from St. Lawrence Church in Alexandria.

In a joint statement, the four newly ordained priests said: ?We, the newly ordained, would like to express our most sincere thanks to Almighty God and the Most Blessed Mother for their great love? Please pray for us as we enter into the ?gift and mystery? of service to God?s people as His priests.?

They also expressed gratitude to the Cathedral Choir and Brass Ensemble under the direction of Richard Gibala. 

Copyright ?2005 Arlington Catholic Herald.  All rights reserved.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2005