Through Christian persecutions, times of war, calamities of all sorts, and now the coronavirus, men continue to answer Christ’s call to his priesthood.
In dioceses throughout the country, although public Masses have been suspended since March and many are just now restoring access to the sacraments, albeit with strict guidelines, there was never a doubt that this year’s priestly ordinations would take place.
In many dioceses, plans for ordinations have not yet been finalized, but it appears that all will be livestreamed, which had already become customary. All celebrations have been scaled back, but in the end, this year’s crop of new priests will be added to the Church with all the zeal and excitement as any other year.
The “Ordination Class of 2020 Study” reveals that despite all the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the 448 identified members of this year’s class are enthusiastically looking forward to the priesthood. The annual survey is conducted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations in conjunction with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).
“At a moment when the faithful are prone to despair and struggle with the sadness of not having the sacraments available, and the public celebration of the Mass suspended, this profile of the 2020 Ordination Class is a ray of light,” the USCCB reported. “It is a tangible sign of God’s continued care for His Church … of the members of the current year’s Ordination Class. Each of the men to be ordained in the coming months shows the loving work of God to sustain his Church through the calling of new priests to minister His saving Sacraments and preach the Good News.”
The Journey to Ordination
“It was never really just about the day,” transitional Deacon Peter Grodi stated in an interview with the Register. “I did not prepare for ordination day; I planned for the priesthood — entering a new state of life and receiving the grace in a unique ministry. The day will be exciting, but it will be about the rest of my priesthood.”
His ordination, along with three other men in his diocese, is scheduled for the morning of June 27 at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral in Toledo, Ohio. On his limited guest list will be his mother, Marilyn, and father, Marcus, the moderator of EWTN’s The Journey Home. Deacon Grodi explained that, for a time, there had been some question as to whether the ordination would need to be strictly private. Even now, he said that everyone understands that all plans are subject to change.
Although Grodi does not have a large family, he will easily fill his allotment of guests with relatives and a few people from different points in his life, including childhood and his time at Franciscan University of Steubenville and St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in Indiana. As many know, his father is a well-known convert who features other converts on his show. “I was baptized before my parents became Catholic, so we joke that I brought the rest of the family into the Church,” Deacon Grodi told the Register, adding that even his non-Catholic relatives are very supportive of his vocation.
Ordination at such a time as this does not concern him. “God knows what is going to happen and what he has prepared us for, and this is the time that God put me in,” he said. “Since the priesthood began, they have had their challenges. I’m just excited to be ordained; the circumstances are secondary. COVID has not dampened the excitement.”
The shutdown of activities actually created a unique opportunity for Deacon Grodi. Given that The Journey Home had to reschedule its guests for a later date, his dad invited him to share his journey to the priesthood. “Sitting across from my dad, I gave him my full, ongoing story and realized this is the deepest we’ve talked about it.” That program will be aired on EWTN on June 8 at 8pm Eastern.
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