One Priest, Two Deacons Ordained
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 8, 2023
ROCKFORD—The air seemed to sparkle with joy as the Cathedral of St. Peter filled up on June 3 with relatives, friends and well-wishers at the ordination ceremony on June 3 where one man was ordained to the priesthood and two others to the transitional diaconate for the Diocese of Rockford.
 
The Rite of Ordination began after the Gospel was read, when the candidates were called forth, named, recommended, and elected. Following the applause, Bishop David Malloy presented his homily. He began by welcoming everyone, especially parents and family members of the three to be ordained: Deacon Connor Orabutt, Grant Colborn and Jeffrey Filipski.
 
The bishop noted the graduation ceremonies of the season that celebrate significant advancements, and how “today is something that is entirely different (and) we might say that difference resides in both history and eternity.”
 
He spoke first of the history of the diaconate, telling Colborn and Filipski that the lesson for them is that “God loves His Church. Always. And so it was the promptings of the Holy Spirit that caused the early Church to seek out ‘reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom’” for service as deacons.
 
“The depth and seriousness as well as the beauty of this moment and your entry into the diaconate is underscored by the promises you are shortly to make publicly,” Bishop Malloy added, outlining those promises: to live charity and fidelity to the Catholic faith and the teaching and example of Jesus; to live the gift of celibacy; and obedience to the bishop and to his successors.
 
Bishop Malloy then addressed Deacon Connor Orabutt, noting that he “will be configured this morning and united to the person and the sacrifice of Christ.”
 
“Jesus identified Himself precisely by the memory of His sacrifice,” the bishop said. “That served as a reminder to the apostles and to us as priests that we are called to sacrifice for and with Christ.”
 
He encouraged the man before him to embrace his priestly promises as “concrete and verifiable examples of self-giving,” adding, “From the first day, give all that you can to bring souls to Christ ... And as you get older ... make your sacrifice the offer of time, of energy and of your joy of faith to encourage all those who come to you.”
 
The bishop told him that he would be joined at each Mass to “the celebrant to eternity itself.” 
 
He then quoted the late Cardinal Francis George’s words: “No matter what the world thinks of us, no matter how our position in society might shift, we are at the center for God’s plan for the whole world.  And what we do in celebrating the Eucharist is the most important thing that happens in this world …
 Every time the Mass is celebrated, the center of the universe is on this altar, and that’s what keeps us all going.”
 
Bishop Malloy also called all who were present to their own “special role in their ministry ... I ask that you take up the commitment to pray for them often, and regularly,” because “especially for those in Holy Orders, the road and even the battle of life is a spiritual struggle,” and prayers of others are needed.
 
“Today marks a place in time, in history and eternity for your vocations,” he told the men. “We are confident that from this day forward, God will bless you with every grace you need and with His love each day of your ministry.”
 
Following his homily, the three men made their promises, and saints were called upon to pray for them as they lay prostrate on the ground.
 
Colborn and Filipski were then ordained to the diaconate and vested with the diaconate stole and a dalmatic. The Book of the Gospels was handed on to them.
 
The bishop then laid hands upon and prayed the prayer of ordination over the new Father Connor Orabutt. He was vested in a chasuble, his hands were anointed, and he was given a paten and chalice, the bread and wine for the celebration of Mass. 
 
Following the sign of peace and fraternal kiss from the bishop and priests to the new priest, Mass continued with Father Orabutt with the bishop at the altar and Deacons Colborn and Filipski present as deacons to either side.
 
After communion, Father Orabutt imparted his first priestly blessing to his bishop, followed by blessings of his immediate family.
 
The joy of the day and the new priest’s blessings continued at a luncheon following the service.

 

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