WILMINGTON — Warmth and gratitude filled the Cathedral of St. Peter on May 21 for the priestly ordination of Brennan Ferris.
The temperature outside was 86 degrees when the procession of priests and deacons began and was well into the 90s when Father Ferris, Bishops Koenig and Malooly, brother priests, religious, friends and well-wishers in the capacity congregation left the sanctuary.
Bishop Koenig ordained his first priest as 10th bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington as Father Ferris was admitted to the order of the priesthood one day shy of his 27th birthday.
“We rejoice together as a church of Wilmington to advance our brother Brennan to the order of the priesthood,” Bishop Koenig said during the Mass.
The bishop reflected on the Gospel in which Jesus said “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.”
“The love and care of Jesus is not limited,” the bishop said in his homily. “It is the good shepherd, Brennan, who is caling you to be a priest. You are called to the service of the people of God.
“You need to grow in your relationship with Jesus and share that with the people. There will be days where pastoral service will fill your day. Strive always to balance your pastoral work with prayer. You will be charged with leading the faithful in prayer, leading them to Christ.
“You, like the good shepherd, will provide nourishment to those in your care.”
The bishop said Father Ferris will look the same when he leaves the cathedral, but his life will be far greater within the priesthood.
“You’ll experience the life of joy lived in the life of service to others,” Bishop Koenig said.
Several dozens priests joined the service that lasted just under two hours. Bishop Koenig announced at the end of Mass that Father Ferris’s first assignment will be at the Church of the Holy Cross in Dover and Immaculate Conception in Marydel.
Father Ferris is a native of Wilmington and graduate of St. Elizabeth’s Elementary and High Schools. He earned his undergraduate degree in Catholic Theology while at the College Seminary of the Immaculate Conception at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., and earned a bachelor of sacred theology and master of divinity degrees from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore. Since his diaconate ordination last year, he has done pastoral work at St. John the Baptist-Holy Angels Parish in Newark and Sacred Heart of Jesus-St. Patrick’s Parish in Baltimore. Father Ferris is the son of Walter and Elizabeth Ferris of Wilmington. He has one sister and one brother. His dad was ordained a permanent deacon in the diocese last year.
“Priesthood is all that I’ve wanted in this life and now that it’s here, it’s hard to believe,” Father Ferris said before his ordination. “I am excited to give my whole life for Jesus and His Church.”
More information about the Diocese of Wilmington’s efforts to increase vocations-awareness and to work with people who may have priestly or religious vocations is available by contacting Father Norman Carroll, director of vocations, at 302-573-3113 or email@example.com. More information is available at www.cdow.org/vocations.
The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington was established in 1868 and comprises 56 parishes, 18 missions and 29 schools serving the State of Delaware and the nine counties of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.