Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Winona Ordains Four!

For the first time in 32 years the Diocese of Winona has ordained in one ordination four men to the Sacred Order of the Priesthood. It was quite the moving ceremony. Two of the men ordained attended the Saint Paul Seminary, while one attended (and will attend for at least one more year) the Pontifical North American College in Rome, while the last attended Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Mexico City, Mexico. Fr. William Thompson, one of the two who attended SPS, was the first man to be ordained who had attended Quo Vadis Days in high-school. Fr. Jeffrey Dobbs, also an SPS-alum, wanted to enter straight out of high school, but his mother wouldn't let him until after at least one year of college. Fr. Thomas Niehaus entered after a stint of schooling in Mankato and involvement with the Newman Center there. Fr. Ubaldo Roque Huerta had long been desiring to serve God and his Church as a priest, but had a number of delays, including the delay involved in transferring to the Diocese of Winona after Bishop Harrington travelled to Mexico and convinced him he should become a priest for the Diocese of Winona to minister largely to the Hispanic population, but of course always to the whole of the faithful of the Diocese.

It was a great day, this past Saturday. The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart was packed: people filled all the extra seats which were set up in the gathering space, and still overflowed so they had them stand along the walls of the nave (the main body of the church). There were 90 concelebrating priests who laid on hands and gave the sign of peace to the four ordinandi/ordinati. Bishop Harrington was so moved that he was in tears repeatedly throughout the ordination. I had the honor of serving as deacon at the Mass. Afterwards, I was speaking with one of the bishop's chancery officers and was told that Bishop Harrington has often said that if there were to be any legacy of him, he wants it to be that he worked to increase the number of priests in the Diocese. Indeed, as a seminarian for the Diocese, I can attest that he has put much effort into that very thing and his efforts are bearing fruit.

It was a special day for all of us in the Diocese of Winona for another reason. Speaking on behalf of the newly ordained, Fr. Will Thompson ended his remarks with a thank you to the bishop who turns 75 in September and, as many are expecting, will likely retire from the position as the Shepherd of the Diocese within the next year, making this his last priestly ordination as Bishop of Winona.

For those of you who know Frs. Jeff and Will, the bishop had made public their assignments the evening before the ordination. Fr. Will Thompson has been assigned as parochial vicar at St. Francis Parish in Rochester, as well as chaplain and teacher at Lourdes High School in Rochester; Fr. Will will have four sections (I think) of catechism classes on his hands. Fr. Jeff Dobbs has been assigned as parochial vicar in Worthington, as well as the clustered parishes of Fulda, Currie and Westbrook; the previous pastor of the three-parish cluster is being assigned elsewhere, and these three parishes are being clustered (temporarily) with Worthington.

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