WILMINGTON — The midday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter on June 18 had a different feel than the normal liturgy. The rector of the cathedral, Father Joseph McQuaide, was there, but he was joined by two of his colleagues: Fathers John Solomon and Anthony Cardone.
Ten years ago to the day, June 18, 2011, the three men had been at St. Peter’s for their ordination. Father Solomon is now the pastor at St. Mary Star of the Sea/Holy Savior Parish in Ocean City, Md., and Father Cardone is associate pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in West Hempstead, N.Y., in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y.
Father Solomon delivered the homily, which began with a story about his seminary days with Father McQuaide. He said all prospective priests must undergo two psychiatric evaluations, and one of the ones he and Father McQuaide took included a question that asked if they knew the definition of “panacea.” Father Solomon did not, but he took the exam first and alerted Father McQuaide that it might be on his test. Father McQuaide was able to dazzle the psychiatrist with a textbook definition of the word — a cure for all things — when his turn came.
“If you’re wondering how your rector became a priest, the answer is with great help,” Father Solomon joked.
The truth, he continued, is that all priests have great help. He noted the support they received from their families, and several of the priests’ relatives were present at the Mass.
Father Solomon said the last year has been the busiest of his priesthood, but he took that as a sign.
“This is a beautiful and life-giving vocation,” he said. “God takes ordinary men and does extraordinary and great things.”