Congratulations and Thank You To Our New Priests and Deacon
By Bishop David J. Malloy
This past Saturday, the Diocese of Rockford rejoiced in the ordination of three new priests: Fathers Robert Blood, John Kladar and Charles Warren, along with our new transitional Deacon Jack Reichardt.
In the presence of a full cathedral, these young men professed their adherence to our Catholic faith, to the faithful celebration of the sacraments, to a life of prayer and imitation of Christ, and to a promise of respect and obedience to me as bishop and to my successors.
Very dramatically, at a moment during the ordination Mass, all four men were lying on the floor, face down. At the same time the choir and the faithful were chanting the invocation of the saints asking them to pray for these men and for all of us. 
In so doing, those being ordained were reminded that ordination involves not simply a designation or an appointment to a task. Rather, by asking for the intercession of the saints, those from the earliest days of the Church until those of our own time, we were reminded that Holy Orders transforms those men into ministers of Jesus Himself.
For the priests, they rose from the floor and for the first time they concelebrated the Mass, joining in the consecration of the bread and wine that became Christ’s body and blood. 
Most likely, during this week, for the first time they will have heard confessions and concluded by absolving the penitent of his or her sins, doing so not just in Jesus’ name but acting in His very person.
Deacon Reichardt now has the ordinary faculties to preach and to baptize. And he is to fulfill what is most specific to all who have been ordained deacons: that is, service to the Church and especially to the poor and needy.
The ordination of four young men makes another deep impression on the Church and on our society. 
We live in a time where faith in the reality and presence of God is diminishing. Our society is increasingly earthbound in its thoughts and its reasoning. The power and even we might say the rights of God over this world are ignored and denied.
People then look at young men such as Fathers Blood, Kladar and Warren, and at Deacon Reichardt, and they wonder. With so much of life ahead and so many earthly blessings and abilities, why enter into this life of service? Why commit to a life of celibacy for the Kingdom? 
And of course many question if the recent scandals and uncertainty in the Church Herself wouldn’t make the calling to Holy Orders and to ministry in the Catholic Church unattractive to good young men. 
The celebration of the Mass of Ordination was its own answer to those questions. 
Today, when seminarians and young men present themselves for formation to the priesthood, they face those questions willingly and head-on. 
It is not uncommon to hear from candidates for orders that they have thought deeply about those issues. And their conclusion is that the challenges in the Church are not a reason to turn away. Instead, they are precisely the reason that they offer themselves to service. 
Christ and the Church need them now more than ever.
Yes, a life of prayer, of celibacy, of fasting, believing and serving, such a life is countercultural. But if we look at the problems in our culture, the loss of faith and of souls, such a witness is deeply good.
The first priests and deacons were also called to challenging times. The evil one, in every age, seeks a way to snuff out faith and the name of Jesus.
When Our Lord calls men like these four newly ordained, He gives them every help and grace to be faithful and effective. And He gives the faithful the grace to respond to their mission.
Fathers Blood, Kladar and Warren and Deacon Reichardt, congratulations. Thank you for saying yes to Christ. 
We look forward with joy and anticipation to your faithful service to the Church and our Catholic faith.