||Bishop Robert C. Morlino poses with the three newly ordained priests, from left: Fr. Patrick Blewett, Fr. Osvaldo Enrique Briones Césped, and Fr. George Alexander Navarro Sáenz.
MADISON -- What are the most important characteristics of priests in the world today? Bishop Robert C. Morlino asked during his homily of the three young men shortly to be ordained.
Holiness. Joy. Unity.
All three of these were present in the event held July 31 at the Bishop O’Connor Center, at which three young men of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest were ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Morlino.
Hundreds of people, primarily by invitation due to the small capacity of the O’Donnell Chapel, attended the two-hour Mass of Ordination to the Order of Priests. Members of the presbyterate from around the diocese concelebrated the Mass with the newly ordained, and diocesan seminarians and young men of the parishes of St. Aloysius, Sauk City, and St. Barnabas, Mazomanie, acted as servers.
The Knights of Divine Mercy’s Schola Cantorum, a relatively new group dedicated to the love and revival of reverent sacred song in the Church, provided the music, along with cantor Joan Carey and organist Mark Smith.
The three young men ordained were members of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, which was founded in the Diocese of Cartagena, Spain, and currently has four priests serving in the Diocese of Madison. The priests serve as administrator and parochial vicars of the linked parishes of St. Barnabas, Mazomanie, and St. John the Baptist, Mill Creek, and the linked parishes of St. Aloysius, Sauk City; St. Mary, Health of the Sick, Merrimac; and St. Norbert, Roxbury.
Two of the newly ordained priests, Fr. John Patrick Blewett and Fr. George Alexander Navarro Sáenz, will remain in the Diocese of Madison. They and two other priests arriving from the society will increase the number of society priests serving here to eight.
The society also has a group of 14 consecrated women coming to the diocese to serve in the Sauk City area and surrounding communities in various capacities.
The Society of Jesus Christ the Priest was founded in Spain by Fr. Alfonso Gálvez, uncle to Fr. Miguel Galvez, parochial vicar of St. Aloysius Parish. It was approved as a Pious Union in 1980 and as an Association of Christian Faithful in 1986.
The society includes priests, laymen, and laywomen and has members in Spain, the United States, Ecuador, and Chile. It places special emphasis on working with youth and young people.
Meet the new priests:
• Fr. George Alexander Navarro Saenz
Parents: Jorge Ricardo Navarro Alzamora and Silvia Saenz Peralta
Birth: October 29, 1980, Lima, Peru
Education: Studied Philosophy & Theology at the University of Navarra (Spain)
Assignment: Diocese of Madison, tba
• Fr. John Patrick Blewett
Parents: John Blewett and Susan McCann
Birth: January 17, 1981, Fort Worth, Texas
Education: Studied physics at the University of Murcia (Spain); studied theology at the University of Navarra (Spain)
Assignment: Diocese of Madison, tba
• Fr. Osvaldo EnriqueBriones Césped
Parents: Hector Briones and Patricia Césped
Birth: November 1, 1975, Santiago, Chile
Education: Studied philology at the University of Murcia (Spain); studied theology at the University of Navarra (Spain)
Holiness of priests
During the Ordination Mass July 31, in his homily after the election of the three candidates John Patrick Blewett, Osvaldo Enrique Briones Césped, and George Alexander Navarro Sáenz and before the rites that would transform these three men into Catholic priests, Bishop Morlino spoke to them about the three most important qualities of the priest in the world today.
The first, he said, can be found in the instruction for ordination: “Let the holiness of your lives be a delightful fragrance for God’s faithful.”
“In your holiness, you are to smell good to the people,” he said. “You are to be aromatherapy for them of a spiritual sort.”
But not everyone in our society will see the priest as “good smelling,” the bishop warned. Many people have lost their sense of smell for holiness.
“As we strive to be holy, there are a lot of people to whom we do not smell good,” he said. “As Church we stay true to who we are and we pray. As individuals we reach out to individuals who have lost their sense of smell.”
The last thing said to priests at their ordination is “Go out and seek those who are lost,” he said. “The Holy Spirit today gives you a gift . . . to seek out those who are lost. As you grow in prayer and experience, you’ll see and learn how to do that.”
Joy of the priesthood
The second characteristic of the priest, Bishop Morlino continued, is joy.
That joy, as it says in the instruction, is based on “the truth that you are called to act on behalf of God in all things that pertain to God for people,” the bishop said. “There’s no more important job description in the world.”
Not only are the new priests called to act on behalf of God, he said, but also challenged.
People don’t know it, he said. “But if you know it, it’ll be a source of joy to others — and that joy becomes contagious.”
Unity of the presbyterate
The third aspect of the priesthood is unity, the bishop said.
The priest is called to be the aid of the bishop, he said. The tightest spiritual bond existing in this world is the bond between the bishop and his priests.
“To build unity in the Church . . . there first must be unity among ourselves, the pope and the bishop and the priests,” he said.
He suggested to the three ordinands that after they are ordained, they read once every week the prayer of ordination to the priesthood — and once every month the prayer for ordination of bishops. This would remind them of their call in their lives as priests.
“That’s your homework from your ordination,” he joked.