Ordination is a sign that the Church goes on

Laura Keener, Editor.

Sacrifice, silence, stability — these three words might not usually come to mind if a person were asked to describe an ordination to the sacred priesthood. They were, however, prominent in ways both visible and hidden, May 16, at the ordination of Father Jordan Hainsey and his Mass of Thanksgiving, May 17.

The Cathedral was empty except for the ordinand’s parents — Raymond and Denise Hainsey — the celebrant, Bishop Roger Foys, and those concelebrating or assisting: Father Stephen Bankemper, Father Aron Maghsoudi, Father Ryan Maher, Father Daniel Schomaker, Deacon Joseph Rielage and Devin Heffernan. The ordination was taking place during a pandemic — a time when people could not gather — not even the Bishop’s Choir. And it was raining. Yet, still, the atmosphere inside the Cathedral was one of anticipation and joy.

“This is not an ordinary day and this is not an ordinary time. What matters is that the Church goes on,” said Bishop Foys in his homily. “Deacon Jordan’s ordination is not diminished by the times in which we live. The fact of the matter is no matter the weather, no matter what the situation is, no matter the guidelines and the restrictions, no matter what is going on outside of us, what is important is what’s going on inside of us — inside our hearts and especially inside Deacon Jordan’s heart. What is going on is that this young man is committing himself for the rest of his life to serve the Lord and the Lord’s people as a priest. It is not only significant — it is sacred.”

Reflecting on the Gospel passage where Jesus tells his disciples “you are the salt of the earth,” and “you are the light of the world,” Bishop Foys said that these are two powerful images.

“To be salt is to be a preservative, to be that which keeps things — people —from going bad. You are the light of the world to be seen by people, to be a guide, to be a warning,” he said.

Bishop Foys said that all Christians are called to be salt and light but the call especially pertains to those who are called to take up the vocation of priesthood.

“Deacon Jordan has been called to be salt and to be light, to do everything he can to preserve God’s people and to preserve everything that is in them that is good. To be their light, to be a guide,” Bishop Foys said.

Bishop Foys thanked Deacon Jordan for listening to the Lord and answering the Lord’s call to priesthood. He was also grateful for Deacon Jordan’s commitment in the face of the sacrifices demanded by the pandemic’s restrictions on gatherings.

“His willingness to be ordained during this time and in this manner is a willingness to embrace his vocation and to begin by sacrifice,” Bishop Foys said. “We are all called, but especially those called to priesthood, to live lives of sacrifice.”

Bishop Foys ended his homily thanking God and asking for his grace. “Deacon Jordan, we pray for you today as we welcome you to the order of presbyter of this holy Church. We pray that this beginning will be a time of new grace for you and that this grace will carry you throughout your entire life as a priest.”

At his Mass of Thanksgiving, Father Hainsey shared that underneath the grandeur of the ordination ceremony, the seeds of his vocation to the priesthood can be found in the faithful witness of a simple man — Mick Marvich. Mr. Marvich was Father Hainsey’s uncle and sponsor when he came into the Church in 2006.

Father Aron Maghsoudi, pastor, Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish, Central City, and All Saints Parish, Boswell, Penn., was the homilist at Father Hainsey’s first Mass. He was also the pastor at St. Joseph Parish, Williamsburg, Penn., where Mr. Marvich was a member. Even in his late years Mr. Marvich’s faith and dedication to his parish — performing routine custodial duties — helped form Father Hainsey, Father Maghsoudi said.
“He lived a very simple life,” Father Maghsoudi said about Mr. Marvich. “There will never probably be a monument dedicated to him and very few accolades afforded him. But it is a simplicity that goes beyond the complexities of life; that in simple faith I offer my best,” he said.

Father Maghsoudi also suggested that the unusual quietness of Father Hainsey’s ordination and the silent works of his uncle offer a catechesis on the power of silence.

“In the silence there are great and profound things that happen. Things that are eternally significant take place even when others fail to notice,” he said. “When Father Jordan was conformed to Christ in a unique and powerful way in the sacrament of Holy Orders yesterday, that act that defines the sacrament — that most ancient of gestures, the laying on of hands — an eschatological change was given, but it was given in silence … In the silence and simplicity of what we celebrate today and what we saw transpire yesterday there is a silent, powerful, life-changing reality, a configuring to Christ.”

Father Maghsoudi encouraged Father Hainsey to “look to the Cross” as he faces the challenges of priesthood.
“Our stability comes from that of the Cross. As the world turns the Cross stands still, that’s where we find our stability, that’s where we find our assurance, that’s where life makes sense,” he said.

In his ordination program Father Hainsey thanked the people who have supported him and recognized the sacrifice that everyone is making in not being able to gather for Mass and the sacraments by offering encouragement.

“Amidst these days of the coronavirus, it has been particularly painful for me and fellow clergy not to greet and be with so many of you for liturgies and Holy Mass,” Father Hainsey wrote. “The same sort of void is felt today as I am ordained to the priesthood in the absence of you and so many family and friends. But for us to sorrow in this reality would be to let the evil one win. Rather, we must ‘run the race,’ as St. Paul would say, and celebrate with great joy, as one family, the fact that the Line of Melchizedek — the priesthood of Jesus Christ — is continuing today despite the hardships that have been thrown at the Church in these past many weeks. This is how we can continue to keep our eyes fixed on Him.

“So many men and women, too numerous to count, have spurred on my vocation throughout my life by their example, helping to till the soil in which God plants the vocation. For that, I will be forever grateful,” he said.