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'Gift of priesthood is gift for entire Church'

"It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain." (Jn 15:16)

During the Rite of the Ordination for Priests, after inquiry by the bishop to those responsible for the candidate's formation for priesthood, he says, "Relying on the help of Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose these, our brothers, for the Order of the Priesthood."

On June 18 at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral, two men were called and chosen by Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne: Fathers Curtis Miller and Matthew Rensch, both of whom he ordained to the priesthood that day.

The gift of the priesthood is a gift for the Church, the entire people of God. From the families that make up our parishes, schools and communities, God calls and chooses men to imitate the first disciples who heard the call of Jesus, "Come, follow me." They left everything and followed Him.

Father Rensch and Father Miller are gifts from God to our diocese. Through the exercise of their priesthood, the people of God will receive the sacraments that will strengthen them in their faith and prepare them for eternal life. As a diocese, we are especially grateful to their parents, their families and their friends who have helped and encouraged them along their journey to the altar of God.

Also ordained on June 18 to the transitional diaconate was Deacon Joseph Sanderson. While exercising this new ministry, Deacon Sanderson enters into the final stage in preparation for the priesthood. While finishing his studies in theology, his final year of seminary formation will include practicums on celebrating the sacraments and on pastoral counseling.

In honor of the Year of Mercy, Bishop Coyne instituted June 18 as the Jubilee Day for Priests and Seminarians, a day in which special graces are given to those serving the Church in Vermont as priests and those in seminary discerning God's call to the priesthood. The seminarians of the Diocese of Burlington served the Mass of Ordination; three of them will begin formation for the priesthood this fall.

God's mercy and faithfulness to the Diocese of Burlington are evident in our two new priests and in the nine men in seminary formation who continue to pursue discerning God's holy will for their lives.

Article written by Father Jon Schnobrich, director of vocations for the Diocese of Burlington.

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