Three men ordained to the priesthood

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Bishop Michael F. Burbidge ordained Nicholas J. Schierer, Christopher F. Tipton and Michael J. Folmar to the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington June 9. 

With their voices, the three deacons professed their love for God and their commitment to worthily living out their priesthood. But their assent was signified with more than words — it was physically embodied. 

The three men fell flat before the altar as the congregation sang the litany of supplication. They bowed their heads as Bishop Burbidge laid his hands upon them, followed by a host of priests who filled the sanctuary. Their palms were anointed with sacred chrism, a mixture of olive oil and balsam. They were clothed with priestly garments of royal blue and white.

Ann Schierer watched with pride as her son, Father William B. Schierer, helped his younger brother don the chasuble.

A moment of priestly fraternity was also a highlight for Nicole Tenegra, sister of Father Tipton. “A priest friend who’s known Chris for 20 years came here from Cleveland to be at the Mass, so he got to do the blessing and give (Father Tipton) the peace be with you. You could just see the joy in his face, the passing it on through generations.”

During his homily, Bishop Burbidge noted that each man was educated at a different seminary: Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., and the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

“I believe each seminary points us to someone who will assist our candidates as they will soon go forth as priests,” he said. “Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, of course, points us to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her example. St. Charles Borromeo was a holy and faithful priest and bishop who remains an inspiration. The Pontifical North American College reminds us of our relationship with the universal church and our solidarity with the successor of St. Peter, His Holiness Pope Francis.”

Bishop Burbidge encouraged the men to see Mary as the mother of priests and as a holy example. “Like Mary, you may have felt a sense of confusion and unworthiness upon hearing that call but, like her, you surrendered to his holy will with profound trust that with God all things are possible,” he said. 

St. Charles Borromeo advises priests to first preach by the way they live, said Bishop Burbidge. Pope Francis reminds us that we must “reflect holiness — which is the most attractive face of the church — by our perseverance, meekness, patience, zeal and joy,” he said. 

After the final procession, the newly ordained priests gave blessings, hugs and handshakes to their friends and family. Second-grader Michael Johnson came all the way from All Saints Church in Manassas to see his friend Father Folmar ordained. 

“(Michael) came home from school, and said “There's a deacon who’s going be a priest and he has my name, and I’m going to be a priest just like him,’ ” said his mother, Rebecca. “So Michael spent the whole year talking to him. Deacon Folmar told him, ‘You should come to my ordination and then my second Mass of thanksgiving at All Saints and then when you’re old enough to be a server, I’ll come do a Mass and you can serve with me.’ Talk about encouraging vocations and making connections,” she said.

Father Folmar will celebrate his first Mass June 10 at noon at Holy Spirit Church in Annandale. He will serve as parochial vicar at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg.

Father Schierer has been assigned as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Hope Church in Potomac Falls. He will celebrate his first Mass June 10 at St. Veronica Church at 10:45 a.m.

Father Tipton will celebrate his first Mass as a priest June 10 at 9 a.m. Holy Spirit Church in Annandale. He has been assigned parochial vicar at St. Leo the Great Church in Fairfax.

Buy photos from the priesthood ordination at catholicherald.smugmug.com.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018

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