The special section wrapping around the outside of this issue of Catholic New York is close to our hearts. As you can see, it features profiles about the 10 men Cardinal Dolan will ordain to the priesthood at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday morning, May 29.
A lot of preparatory work and effort goes into producing a section such as this one, especially this year. From our end, all of our reporters and editors get involved in the reporting and writing of the profiles. While we each bring our own personal style to the assignment, we try our best to keep the focus where it belongs—on the seminarians, now transitional deacons, who in slightly more than a week will be ordained to the priesthood.
We get a lot of help in turning out this particular product, especially from the leadership and staff of St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, where eight of this year’s ordinands completed their formation for the priesthood. Of course, that includes Auxiliary Bishop James Massa of Brooklyn, the rector, and Father William Cleary, the vice rector, who for several years has helped us to coordinate the interview schedule of the seminarians and facilitate the flow of basic background questions to and from them.
In years such as this one, when more men are being ordained, keeping everything running smoothly is no small matter, so the seminarians aren’t burdened with too many additional responsibilities as graduation and ordination nears and we are able to get the information and access we need to publish.
From CNY’s perspective, ordinations are an important story, in terms of news and in the life of the archdiocese. It goes almost without saying at this point, but bears repeating, that we in the Archdiocese of New York and just about every other diocese in the United States could use more priests. You can likely see the need clearly in your own parish.
This section is one way we personally work to counter that trend. We endeavor to deliver not only the basics about the new priests’ educational and family backgrounds. We want to tell you a little about how they live their faith, how they first heard the call to priesthood and what their hopes and dreams are for their priestly life.
A couple of years ago, when I was interviewing one of the men who would be ordained that spring, he gave a nice affirmation about the importance of this project. He said that he had been reading the ordination profiles each year for a long time and that they had been a source of encouragement in his priestly journey.
At the time, I remember replying that his email was the best one I had received all week. It actually meant a great deal more to me. We always hope that our work is important and relevant to our readers, and that it helps them to build their Catholic faith.
I’ll leave you with one last thought recently shared by a retired staff member who still does some writing for CNY. She used to write almost all of the ordination profiles for a section like this one. She told me about the first year she took on that task. She wrote 18 such profiles, one for each of the priests being ordained that year.
She always wrote those profiles with care and talent. I remarked about the breadth of that work and seriously asked whether she had been able to do any other assignments during that time.
Considering that number, nearly twice as many ordained as this year, I pray we may again see such a bountiful priestly blessing. I hope you will too.