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‘A very happy day for the Diocese of Wilmington’ — Father Lance Martin ordained to the priesthood

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WILMINGTON – Church bells tolled joyfully as a procession or priests and deacons began its way into the Cathedral of St. Peter May 28 for the ordination of Father Lance Martin.

“This is a very happy day for the Diocese of Wilmington. We rejoice,” Bishop Malooly told 33 priests, Father Martin’s fellow seminarians, and a congregation of about 200. The congregation included Father Martin’s parents and two siblings.

The ordination was the first for a diocesan priest in three years, in itself a cause for celebration.

In his homily, Bishop Malooly called for Father Martin to follow the lead of Jesus, whom God the Father sent “to serve and not be served, to seek out what is lost.”

Bishop Malooly (right) congratulates Father Lance Martin on the day of his ordination to the priesthood. (www.donblakephotography.com)
Bishop Malooly (right) congratulates Father Lance Martin on the day of his ordination to the priesthood. (www.donblakephotography.com)

Jesus himself sent that same message in the Gospel reading, John 21:15-17. Jesus three times asks Peter if Peter loved him. Each time Peter replies that he does, and Jesus tells him to “feed my lambs … tend my sheep … feed my sheep.”

In the ordination ritual, Bishop Malooly said, God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to help the new priest be Jesus-like in his ministry. “As a priest, it will be your role to follow his [Jesus’s] example,” Bishop Malooly said, citing the first reading, Isaiah 61:1-3. In it, Isaiah tells of being anointed and sent forth by God.

God sent others to lead his people throughout the Old Testament, and also sent Jesus into the world. “He, in turn, sent the Apostles into the world,” the bishop said.

“Today, as a priest, you become a co-worker” of Jesus and the Apostles. “As a priest, it will be your role to follow his [Jesus’s] example.”

After the homily Bishop Malooly ordained Father Martin, who then helped consecrate, for the first time, the bread and wine for Communion, helping feed Jesus’s lambs and sheep.