Sunday, June 3, 2012

Boys Should go to Ordinations

I think about the vows I've taken as a married woman in the Catholic Church almost daily.  I think about them because they help me get through the day.  Look, if your internet handle includes the adjectival 'ranting' you know you need to touch hard rock on a daily basis.  But I'm female, and any vows available to me are fundamentally different than the vows available to Catholic men.  (Regardless of what the leaders of the LCWR would say...)

Yesterday, my son and I went to the ordination of Father Greg Carl.  Father Greg is the first of two relatives who are going to be ordained.  Father Greg is our son's second cousin on my husband's side.  The next ordination, God willing, will be our nephew Matt Capadano in two years.  (My son, James, is the only family member connected to both by blood.)  Matt's my sister Mary's son, and left today for a summer of service in Guatemala. Please, keep him in your prayers.

I've never attended an ordination before.  I always thought they would be packed to the rafters with people welcoming new priests.  There was plenty of open seating.  I guess the church was a little fuller than it would have been for  wedding, but even so...

There  was a family with 5 young daughters and one son sitting in front of us.  The girl, who I think was 3, at one point started saying "Jesus" as if she was calling for someone who is lost.  Over and over, she called to Jesus like you might call Marco Polo in a game of swimming tag.  While this annoyed my Mom because the child was undisciplined, for me it is a memorable and important moment.  Women at an ordination pray in a maternal way and call for Jesus to come to the new priest.  Men and boys have a different purpose.

For men and boys at an ordination, they are seeing the path less chosen.  It is as much about the new priest as about what might have been for those married men who are, well, married.  It is a different kind of vow.

Vows are important things.  When Catholics talk about Vocations we tend to mean short hand for the religious life or the priesthood.  Every life path is a vocation, if you are open to it.  Boys especially should go to ordinations whether they know the new priests or not.  They need to hear the vows, to see the Litany of Supplication, the Laying on of Hands,  the Anointing of the Hands, and the Fraternal Kiss.

My sister was in tears at the beauty of the Mass, and my godson Johnny didn't whine about it!  My son, James, said we missed the best part because we didn't see the prayers on the Cathedral steps after the recessional.

Mostly, this was a sending forth from which we all benefit, and we can't do without.  If we don't have new priests, who will baptize our grandchildren?  Who will anoint us before we die?  Who will say our funeral Mass?  Who will say Masses for our souls when we are in Purgatory?

Marriage vows are witnessed by invitation only, and I guess that's okay.  But priestly vows should be witnessed as publicly as possible. Go.  Pray.  Take your sons.  Priests need our support, and our sons need to know that they can be open to the priesthood.

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