Bishop Coyne Ordains two Priests and one Transitional Deacon
Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne ordained two men to the priesthood and one to the transitional diaconate at a special Mass June 18 at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington.
The celebration was part of the diocesan commemoration of the Year of Mercy and its Jubilee for Priests and Seminarians.
During the more-than-2-hour Mass, the bishop ordained Fathers Curtis Miller and Matthew Rensch and Deacon Joseph Sanderson; the church was filled with family members, friends, members of the clergy and other supporters of the three men.
“These three men -- Joseph as a transitional deacon and Curtis and Matthew as priests -- have been chosen by God through his holy Church to go forth, appointed and anointed through the Sacraments of Holy Orders to spread the Good News that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and the bearer of salvation to [the] entirety of creation,” the bishop said in his homily. “You are called forth from the community to serve that same community and the wider Church as servants of the Church. What an honor and what a responsibility.”
Bishop Coyne emphasized that all things are possible with God. “When we rely on Go -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- when we say ‘it is not about me’ but about Him and His people, then our lives -- but most especially the life of deacon or priest -- are built on a solid foundation,” he said. “This foundation is built of the bricks of daily prayer, especially intercessory prayer for the needs of others, the Liturgy of the Hours, the reading of Scripture and the celebration of the Sacraments, the font and summit of which is the Eucharist, all of this being centered on Christ, relying on Him who alone is our rock and our fortress.”
The Rite of Ordination included a Litany of Supplication in which the Church invokes the intercession of the saints and martyrs in heaven to intercede for the candidates and the entire pilgrim Church on earth, asking for God to pour forth His grace and mercy. During the litany, the candidates lay prostrate at the foot of the steps in front of the altar.
The bishop then placed his hands on the head of each candidate. Through this Laying on of Hands by the bishop and the prayer of ordination, the gift of the Holy Spirit for the diaconal office was conferred on Deacon Sanderson and the gift of the Holy Spirit for the priestly office was conferred on Fathers Miller and Rensch.
Deacon Sanderson received the diaconal stole and dalmatic, signs of the office of deacon, and Fathers Miller and Rensch received the stole and chasuble, signs of the office of the ministerial priesthood.
In the Handing on of the Book of the Gospels, Fathers Miller and Rensch knelt in front of the bishop who prayed, “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.”
The bishop anointed the men’s hands with sacred chrism and later placed in their hands the bread and wine – on a paten and in a chalice, respectively -- pointing to their duty of presiding at the Celebration of the Eucharist and of following Christ Crucified.
Father Miller’s first priestly assignment will be as parochial vicar of Corpus Christi Parish in St. Johnsbury, Lyndonville and Danville.
Father Rensch has been appointed temporary parochial vicar of St. Monica Parish in Barre.
This summer Deacon Sanderson will be assigned to parish work in Swanton and Highgate Center.
For more on the ordination, read the July issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
Slideshow of the Event