The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge bestowed the Sacrament of Holy Orders on Father John Victor Gournas at an Ordination Mass celebrated at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh, May 22.
Father Gournas was presented for service to the people of the Diocese by Vocations Director Fr. Bernard Shlesinger, VF. After inquiring if he was worthy to be ordained, Bishop Burbidge accepted the request, with the packed Cathedral showing consent with its applause.
Among family and friends in attendance were Father Gournas’ older sisters, Liz Taylor, who resides with her family in Blue Springs, Missouri, and Toni Davis, who resides with her family in Raleigh.
Expressing gratitude for the blessings of the day for the Church and the Diocese of Raleigh, Bishop Burbidge said, “We offer thanks to God for leading Vic to this sacred moment and to thank Vic for his enthusiastic ‘yes’ to God’s call.” In his homily, Bishop Burbidge noted in the Gospel reading when Jesus tells Peter to “Feed my sheep.”
“Vic, in order to tend to the flock of God and feed them, you must first tend to your own spiritual life and allow yourself to be nurtured,” the Bishop said. “It is your intimate relationship with the Lord that provides you with all that you need to feed His sheep.”
He encouraged Father Gournas, “Feed God’s people with the preaching of His Word. Feed God’s people in the celebration of the Sacraments. Feed God’s people, especially those in most need, by washing their feet and as one who, like Jesus, comes to serve and not to be served.”
Following the Bishop’s homily, the Rite of Ordination continued with Father Gournas promising fidelity to Christ and to the ministry of the Priesthood. Kneeling before Bishop Burbidge, with his hands between those of the Bishop, Father Gournas promised respect and obedience to the Bishop and his successors. The gift of the Holy Spirit was then conferred by the laying on of hands, followed by the Bishop saying the Prayer of Ordination. The Bishop then anointed the palms of Father Gournas’ hands as a sign of the sealing with the Holy Spirit Who was called forth through the imposition of hands and the Prayer of Ordination.
Father Gournas celebrated his first Mass on May 23 at his home parish of St. Luke the Evangelist in Raleigh. Effective June 30, he will serve as Parochial Vicar at St. Paul Church in New Bern.
Above: Father John Victor Gournas lying prostrate as the Litany of the Saints is sung during the Mass of Ordination. The prayer asks for the intercession of the saints in order that God may look favorably upon the one to be ordained.
Below: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge saying the Prayer of Ordination, which asks for the spirit of holiness for the new priest so that he may help to sanctify God’s people. At the conclusion of the prayer, ordination to the priesthood has been conferred.