Our website is made possible by displaying online ads to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our site.

Bishop Burbidge ordains five men to the priesthood

First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
Previous Next

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge ordained five men to the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington June 6: Fathers Guillermo J. González, Peter M. McShurley, Joseph F. Moschetto, Charles C. Pavlick and James F. Waalkes.

Although the coronavirus pandemic didn’t affect the date of the long-planned ordination, safety requirements limited the number of people who could attend. There were fewer embraces. Face masks and hand sanitizer abounded. As did the joy of the newly ordained and their family and friends.

“When our soon-to-be ordained priests are celebrating their 25th and 50th anniversaries, some may ask them, ‘Was there anything unique about your ordination ceremony? No doubt, we could not imagine the answers they will give as we celebrate this year’s ordination in the midst of a pandemic and with safety protocols we have never seen before at an ordination, ’ ” said Bishop Burbidge in his homily.

“The uniqueness of this year's ordination, in the midst of a pandemic and sadly as we witness growing tension and division and injustice in our nation, are also powerful reminders (that) we can only be healed, we can only be renewed and united in and through the power of God,” he told them. “It is into this world that God sends you to bring his healing love and saving power as you preach the word and celebrate the sacraments, as you give yourselves in service to others and by the holiness of your lives, as you remain faithful to your commitment to celibacy and promises of respect and obedience.”

After the homily, each man promised to worthily carry out his priestly ministry. Then the deacons prostrated themselves as a litany of saints was sung. When the litany was finished, Bishop Burbidge and the small number of priests in attendance laid their hands on the men’s heads as they knelt. Finally, Bishop Burbidge recited the prayer of ordination over them and welcomed them as the five newest priests for the Arlington Diocese. 

Each newly ordained priest was assisted in putting on priestly vestments by another priest. Father González chose Father Mauricio Pineda, parochial vicar of All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas. “We met each other at youth group when we were teenagers,” said Father González. “When I was looking for a priest to vest me, we had a conversation and he said, ‘I can do it.’ ”

After the Mass, instead of gathering for a reception in the cathedral’s Buke Hall, clergy, seminarians, family and friends congregated outside the church in the warm summer air. A white tent was set up for each of the newly ordained priests to greet visitors and to offer their first blessings as priests. Seminarians were on hand to pass out prayer cards and sanitize the kneeler in between blessings. 

Matthew Waalkes, brother of Father Waalkes, chatted with friends as he waited in line to receive a blessing. He was moved by the moment during the Mass where each newly ordained priest gave a blessing to Bishop Burbidge and Retired Bishop Paul S. Loverde. “That was pretty amazing and is a reminder that they need blessings continually as well,” said Waalkes. 

He was excited and proud to see his brother being ordained a priest. “He’s grown so much over the past few years,” said Waalkes. “He’s going to be an amazing priest.”

This story has been updated. 

Buy keepsake photos of the ordination at catholicherald.smugmug.com.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020

@ZoeyMaraistACH