LAKE CHARLES -- Bishop Glen John Provost was the presiding prelate on Saturday, June 3, at the Mass of Ordination for a new priest for the Diocese of Lake Charles – Rev. Sam A. “Trey” Ange III – and a transitional deacon – Deacon Samuel Orsot – in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
At the conclusion of the liturgy, before the final blessing by Bishop Provost, Deacon George Stearns, diocesan chancellor, pronounced the pastoral changes for a number of diocesan parishes, including the first priestly assignment for Father Ange – Parochial Vicar to Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church.
Father Ange celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday, June 4, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, coming full circle as Rev. Jeffrey Starkovich said in his homily, noting that the Evette and Sam, the parents of the new priest and both Newman Club members in their college days, had met outside the church, which is the site of the Catholic Student Center – then and now.
In his homily, Bishop Provost spoke about the three readings – Acts, Chapter 10, 37-43; Second Corinthians 4: 1-2, 5-7; and the Gospel from John 17:6, 14-19.
’You know what has happened all over Judea.” Acts 10:37’
“These are the words of St. Peter to Cornelius and his household, Cornelius ‘a centurion of the Cohort called the Italica,’” Bishop Provost said. “Cornelius, based with the Roman army in Caesarea, was probably an auxiliary from Italy in a mostly Syrian army. He was, therefore, a Gentile in Gentile company, listening to St. Peter. The Apostle’s approach was gentle yet firm and clear, concluding with a proclamation of mercy—‘… everyone who believes in Jesus will receive forgiveness of sins through His Name.’
“The result was conversion, the Holy Spirit descending on the Gentiles, including them in the marvelous work of redemption.” About the second reading, the Bishop said, “St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that the preachers of the Gospel ‘ do not preach themselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and themselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus’. Again St. Paul is gentle yet firm and clear about his role as a proclaimer of the Gospel message. Whatever power exists comes from God and not from the preacher.
And then we come to the Gospel, the source of it all, to one of the most beautiful prayers in all the Sacred Scriptures,” the Bishop continued. “Prayed at the Last Supper, Jesus addresses the Father. He has revealed the Father’s name to those who ‘do not belong to the world.’ Reminiscent of the High Priest on the Jewish Day of Atonement, ‘the blessing of the Lord would be upon his lips, the name of the Lord would be his glory.’ ‘I revealed Your Name,’ Jesus says to the Father, a Name leading to consecration in the truth.”
Continuing, Bishop Provost said, “This is a priestly prayer. We should not forget that fact. This prayer too is gentle, yet firm and clear. This priestly prayer from a priestly Word brings conversion to the Gentiles, encouragement to the weak of heart, clarity in the midst of deceit and falsification. It is a Word of mercy and a Word of truth—a priestly Word.” Addressing those to be ordained, he said, “Are you ready to participate in this ministry? The work to which the ordained clergy are called is not their own. It does not belong to them. The liturgy is not their personal possession. The doctrines they teach do not emerge from their genius. Nowhere in St. Paul or St. Peter or any of the Apostles or Evangelists do we ever detect any evidence of self. What they preach comes from the Lord. They are simply servants. Their work is not to discern meaning. Their duty is to witness to a message.”
Nearing his conclusion, Bishop Provost said, “Humility is required of the ordained minister. He does not reinterpret the words of Jesus when they do not quite fit his agenda, however noble he might think that agenda to be. The Word of God is not to be dismissed or reinterpreted with the claim that tape recorders did not exist. His work is to witness the truth before this world’s Cornelius, to the Corinthians who need reminders of their nothingness before God’s power and mercy, and of the blinding glory of the Name revealed to those who ‘hold this treasure in earthen vessels.’”
The complete text of Bishop Provost's homily can be found on the website of the Diocese by clicking here.