A couple of days ago a box arrived for me in the mail and in it were my chalice, a travelling Mass kit, and a sick call kit. It seems that a few of my family members had gotten together to procure these “priestly necessities” so that I might be all ready to go after my Ordination in a couple of weeks.
This package brought me great excitement, but not the sort of excitement that comes with getting shiny new things, but a deeper excitement. The excitement wasn’t about getting a gift per se, but about what those two gifts mean for me in my soon-to-come life as a priest. To be a minister of the sacraments, to offer Christ’s presence to the sick and the suffering, this is what excites me about my upcoming Ordination.
As I look at these items, I cannot but help to wonder how many Masses I will say or how many people I will anoint. I begin to wonder what moments these sacred vessels will see. Moments of great joy, weddings, first communions, the great liturgical feast days, but also moments of great pain and suffering at funeral Masses and at the bedside of the sick and the dying.
As I envision these moments I cannot help but to be deeply humbled, like Peter there is a desire to say “depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Yet, at the same time there is an overwhelming sense of faith and hope. Faith that the Lord Jesus gives to us the grace necessary to live the vocation he calls us to and hope in the great power of the sacraments.
Ordination weekends are always much fun and I suspect mine will be no different as old friends and classmates catch up, beautiful liturgy is had, and lots of excellent food is consumed. These are all certainly exciting things, but after the weekend is said and done, what will hopefully endure is the excitement of leading others to Christ and helping others to recognize the presence of Christ in this world, especially through the sacraments.
I am excited by the prospect of being able to offer people the Bread of Life in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to offer reconciliation in the sacrament of penance and healing in the anointing of the sick. In short I am excited by the opportunity to bring God to others in a very special way as a priest.
I suppose that my excitement is twofold. I am no doubt excited for the Ordination weekend itself, to share such a wonderful moment in my life with so many family members and friends as well as many of my brothers in Holy Cross. But, more deeply I am excited about the opportunity to serve the Lord and His Church through the sacraments.
Currently Deacon Brian Ching, C.S.C. is serving at St. Joseph Parish in South Bend. He professed his Final Vows to Holy Cross on August 25, 2012. Deacon Brian will be ordained to the priesthood on Easter Saturday, April 6, with Deacon Mark DeMott, C.S.C. and Deacon Jarrod Waugh, C.S.C. Stay tuned for more Ordination Week coverage on the Spes Unica blog.