Of all the liturgies that are celebrated here at our Cathedral, the most beautiful, and I would say the most significant, are those days when the bishop ordains priests for service in our diocese. Ordaining new men for the priesthood is a sign of life and hope in the diocese, because it means more laborers in the Lord’s vineyard who will share with us the graces that the Lord desires to offer us in the Church. Only the priest is capable of celebrating the Eucharist, and without the Eucharist, we cannot fully live the life the Lord desires for us, thus the profound significance of the day of priestly ordination not just for the man, but for the entire diocese.
By the time this article comes out (unless you are reading ahead in our weekly eBlast or online bulletin), our diocese will have been blessed with two new priests ordained on Saturday, May 28 – Father Paul Lesupati and Father Zach Samples. In my role as Vocation Director for the diocese, it has been a joy to see these two men progress through their formation and finally reach this blessed day.
Father Zach Samples is a native of our diocese, hailing from Mt. Zion. After graduating with a Master’s degree from his beloved Eastern Illinois University, he entered seminary formation at St. Meinrad Seminary. Father Samples has been blessed with many gifts and I am confident that he will serve our diocese well. He begins his priestly ministry at St. Peter’s Parish in Quincy, while also helping out as a chaplain at Quincy Notre Dame Catholic High School.
Father Paul Lesupati is a native of Kenya, and his coming to our diocese is a true sign of God’s Providence. He had met Father Jeff Grant, Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Springfield, who was on sabbatical in Kenya, working in a refugee camp. Father Grant noticed a unique gift in Paul and asked if he had ever thought about the priesthood. In fact, Paul had, having been in religious life as a Franciscan for a few years. Father Grant referred Paul to me, and the rest is history! Here at the Cathedral, we will be getting to know Father Lesupati well as he begins his priestly ministry to the diocese here as our new Parochial Vicar.
Please pray for these men as they begin this exciting adventure as priests in our diocese. Please pray for our seminarians as they continue their formation that will lead them one day, God-willing, to share in this great gift of service to the people of God. As I did at the beginning of the month, let us commend these men, as well as all of the priests of our diocese, to the prayers of Mary, Mother of Priests, that through her intercession, we may serve you and all of the faithful with the zeal and love that you all deserve as children of God, brothers and sisters in the Lord.