ORDINATION — Hoang Nguyen, 41, and Gregory Roth, 26, lie prostrate on the floor in front of the altar while the assembly pray for the intercession of the saints and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (Yaworski photo)
Two priests ordained for Saskatoon
By Kiply Lukan Yaworski
SASKATOON — Bishop Donald Bolen ordained two men as priests for the Diocese of Saskatoon June 22 in a celebration at the Cathedral of the Holy Family.
The assembly responded “thanks be to God” and broke into applause as Bolen presented Hoang Nguyen, 41, and Gregory Roth, 26, who are the first priests to be ordained in the new cathedral.
Bishop Bryan Bayda of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon, Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, of St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, and some 70 priests joined Bolen in blessing Nguyen and Roth in the presence of family, friends, diocesan representatives and visitors from around the world.
“This is a day when we are super abounding with joy,” Bolen said at the start of the liturgy that included proclamations in French and Vietnamese, with music ministry led by a diocesan choir.
Diocesan vocation director Rev. Gerard Cooper presented the men for ordination, calling forth seminary representatives to speak about each of the candidates.
Rev. Sylvain Casavant of St. Joseph Seminary read testimony about Nguyen prepared by seminary rector Rev. Stephen Hero.
“If you ask Deacon Hoang how he came to have a sense of his call, he would point to the gift of faith that was nurtured by his parents and family in Vietnam. He would recall as well the witness of his parish priest,” said Casavant. “Hoang learned from faithful servants of Christ the importance of spending time dedicating your life to others, losing yourself to find yourself.”
Unable to enter the seminary in Vietnam for political reasons, Nguyen left his homeland for the unknown territory of Western Canada, following the “still, small voice in his heart” to become a seminarian for the Diocese of Saskatoon in 2007.
Rev. Peter Amszej of St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ont. provided testimony about Roth, describing his dedication to his spiritual life, to prayer and to his relationship with Jesus Christ, as well as to his studies. Amszej emphasized Roth’s joyful spirit of service and outreach, characterized by “friendliness, optimism, generosity, persistence and good humour.”
“They both wrote about a sense of call and a sense of being unworthy of that call. They have both written eloquently about saying yes to that call and their desire to try to do so with their whole lives,” said the bishop.
Today’s culture tends to doubt the language of call, observed Bolen.
“And yet, we are here. And you are here: ready to prostrate yourselves on the floor and implore the saints to give you the grace to carry out the ministry that has been asked of you, ready to live in obedience to the Gospel and your calling.”
The rite of ordination continued with Roth and Nguyen declaring their intention to care for the Lord’s flock, promising to serve faithfully and reverently, and pledging obedience to the bishop and his successors.
As a sign of surrender to God, the two young men lay prostrate on the floor in front of the altar while the assembly prayed for the intercession of the saints and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The bishop then conferred ordination by laying his hands on the head of Roth and Nguyen — a gesture repeated by the many priests present at the celebration, as a sign of unity and shared spirit.
After a prayer of consecration by the bishop, Roth and Nguyen were vested with the stole (a sign of the priestly office) and the chasuble (the eucharistic vestment) with assistance from Rev. Pius Shroh and Rev. Phong Pham. Each newly ordained priest then knelt before the bishop, who anointed their hands with the Sacred Chrism.
A chalice and paten were presented by the bishop to each of the newly ordained priests, with the words: “Know what you are doing and imitate the mystery you celebrate; model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross.” Nguyen and Roth then joined the bishop and priests at the altar to celebrate the eucharist.