Reflections by Randy Hodge
|Posted on June 9, 2018 at 7:45 AM|
The most important thing we want our students to learn in their years attending St. Patrick School is how to answer God’s call for their life.
Some of our graduates will be called to attend college and find a specific career, while others may be called to a trade or even to serve our country in the military. Many of our students will be called to the married life. And we find particular joy in those called to serve as priests or religious brothers and sisters.
One of our students, Michael Steffes Jr., officially answered God’s call to become a priest Saturday, June 2. Michael, Class of 2008, was ordained at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in downtown Grand Rapids in front a standing room only crowd.
With Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak, bishop of Grand Rapids, presiding, Fr. Michael made five promises: 1) to assist bishops in caring for the Lord’s flock; 2) to preach and teach “worthily and wisely”; 3) to celebrate faithfully the sacraments; 4) to “pray without ceasing” for God’s mercy upon the people entrusted to his care; and to resolve to “be united more closely every day to Christ the High Priest.”
He then knelt before the Bishop and promised to respect and obey him and his successors. After the Laying on Hands and the Prayer of Ordination, he was vested with a new stole, signifying Holy Orders and service, and with a chasuble, which is an outer garment worn by priests and bishops when the Eucharist is being celebrated.
It was a special moment for many from Portland as Father Michael chose our former pastor Fr. Larry King to be his vesting clergy.
After that, his hands were anointed with sacred chrism to symbolize the priest’s distinctive participation in Christ’s priesthood as one who offers sacrifice to God and sanctifies the Christian people. Finally, the bread and wine were placed into his hands pointing to his duty of presiding at the celebration of the Eucharist and of following Christ crucified.
If you want to watch the Ordination Mass, it can be found on the Diocese of Grand Rapids’ Facebook page.
While Fr. Michael Steffes is a graduate of St.Patrick High School, he spent eight years at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., to prepare for ordination.
Our students have been blessed to have Fr. Michael as a regular visitor to the classroom and the playground and have enjoyed watching him grow from college student to seminarian to deacon to priest.
He has been a living witness to what we ask our students to do, which is to follow God’s call for their life.
It was great to see so many of his classmates at his ordination on Saturday at the cathedral and at his First Mass at St. Patrick Church on Sunday. It speaks to the connections our students make, even 10 years after graduating from college. Please keep Fr. Michael in your prayers as he begins his priestly ministry. Please also keep seminarian Johnathon Johnson (2008) and Sr. M. Evangeline (Wendy Rutherford, Class of 2009) in your prayers as well as our students, past and present, who may be discerning God’s call.