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Bishop Ordains Two Men to Priesthood at Joyous Celebration

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The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, ordained two men to the priesthood in a Rite of Ordination ceremony held Saturday, June 9, at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Chapel Hill.

The two are Father Anthony Vincent DeCandia and Father Marco Antonio Gonzalez-Hernandez. Father Gonzalez is the first Mexican-born priest ordained for service in the Diocese of Raleigh.

Before a large gathering of family, friends and faithful from throughout the Diocese, Fathers DeCandia and Gonzalez were presented for service to the people of the Diocese by Vocations Director Fr. Bernard Shlesinger, VF. Bishop Burbidge accepted the presentation and put them forth for ordination, and they were accepted by the people.

The Rite continued with the candidates’ promise of fidelity to Christ and the ministry of the priesthood. They also promised obedience to the Bishop and his successors. The gathering then prayed for the two men as they prostrated themselves in humility and dependence on God’s grace. The prayer, the Litany of the Saints, calls them down upon the candidates to aid them as they prepare to undertake the office of priest.

The most solemn moment of the ordination is the laying on of hands. This is done in silence, with the Bishop laying both hands on the head of each ordained. The gesture signifies the conferral of the Holy Spirit through whose power these men are ordained. Since they share in the office of priest, the other priests present also laid hands on the two men.

Following their investiture with the liturgical vestments of the priesthood, the Bishop anointed their hands with the oil of the Holy Chrism for the healing and sanctifying of the Church. Family members of the two men presented the chalice, paten, bread and wine to the Bishop, who then presented them to Fathers DeCandia and Gonzalez. The ordination rite concluded with the “Kiss of Peace,” an ancient greeting given by the Bishop and priests who were present. (Please see video below for portions of the Ordination Rite).

In his homily, Bishop Burbidge noted the inspiration the late John Paul II played in the two men’s call to priesthood. The Bishop asked them to “remain convinced that you must make your spiritual life your highest priority.”

“As men who pray fervently and who spend time in silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament,” the Bishop said, “you allow yourself to be possessed in God’s love so that in turn you may share it with others.”

The Bishop noted the blessings they have received from “dear parents whose example, goodness and love will continue to sustain you.” He added, “Jesus gives you His Mother to protect and to guide you. On this day, I entrust you to her care and pray that, with her help, you will be always faithful to the words of her Son: Remain in my love and love one another as I have loved you.”

At the conclusion of the Mass, Bishop Burbidge informed the two priests where their first assignments would be. Father Gonzalez is assigned as Parochial Vicar at St. Bernadette Church in Fuquay-Varina. Father DeCandia is assigned as Parochial Vicar at St. Patrick Church in Fayetteville. Both assignments are effective July 10.