This morning I went to the ordination Mass for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Nine men were ordained to the priesthood, and one of them is a fellow Filipino which was edifying to witness. I came in a couple of minutes after 8, and I realized I should have arrived way earlier. I underestimated the time, not considering how much people there would be at that time. I was expecting to park in the structure and be assured that my parking would be comfortable, but I ended having to park on a meter by the side street because the structure was already full. Despite the parking setback, I was expecting to have a smooth sail with the seating in the cathedral.
I went inside the Cathedral right away, handed my ticket, and went to the section as indicated by the ticket I had. The place where I ended up sitting wasn’t so bad: my seat was just a couple of pews away from the very front of slight right edge of the altar. It was a good location because I was also able to survey the choir, the tapestry, and most especially the liturgical actions happening at the altar.
The ordination Mass was quite solemn. Although there were several applauses that disturbed my liturgically conservative ears, the Gregorian chant-like choir balanced it out. The homily of Archbishop Gomez was not the most moving homily I have ever heard throughout my life as a practicing Catholic but it got the job done, and it’s all that matters. The part I like most about the Mass was the liturgy of ordination itself—the laying of the hands on the head of the candidates by Archbishop and the priests, the laying prostrate of the candidates around the altar, the anointing of the hands of the candidates, and the transitional vesting of the candidates from deaconate attire to priestly one with the stole and chasuble. I have been to a couple of ordinations before. The significant difference with those two ordinations before was that there was only one candidate that was ordained. This time, there were nine so that makes this particular ordination a little more special.
Witnessing the nine men ordain to the priesthood is very inspiring to me as well as helped me put life in perspective. Ordinations and matrimonial weddings, for me, are what life is all about; life is meant to be lived with a tremendous sense of commitment. Having a sense of commitment is the first step to a life of sanctity. It is a shame for me to see that some lives here are not lived with that sense and renders them, therefore, mediocre. One of the things that I have learned in discernment is that the vocation to marriage and priesthood are just similar in a sense that they are lives with a consecrated sense of commitment. Obviously, the object of commitment for each vocation is different: for matrimony, to a spouse; for the priesthood, the faithful body of Christ. The vocation to matrimony primarily entails a call to perpetuate human life and nurture every aspect of it. The vocation to the priesthood, on the other hand, entails a call to nourish the spiritual aspect of human life through the sacraments. Each vocations has a different function that makes neither one better than the other. One’s call to a particular vocation ultimately depends on one’s spiritual relationship with Christ.