Catholic News Herald

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061717 holy hour‘Lord, how good it is to be here with you’

CHARLOTTE — Bishop Peter J. Jugis led a prayer vigil and Holy Hour June 15 at St. Patrick Cathedral for five men – Peter Ascik, Matthew Bean, Brian Becker, Christopher Bond and Christian Cook – as they prepare to offer their lives as priests to the People of God.

All five deacons attended the Holy Hour with their parents and were seated near the front of the cathedral, close to where their vestments were draped over the pews near the base of the steps of the sanctuary in anticipation of Bishop Jugis blessing them, along with the chalices that they will use at their first Mass.

During his homily, Bishop Jugis reminded the men of some essential things to keep in mind as they begin their priestly ministry.

“You five men who are about to be ordained priests of the new covenant, priests of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for you we have gathered this evening to beg in prayer God’s divine favor upon you and His blessing upon you and also upon your lifetime of priestly ministry which now lies ahead of you,” he said.

“Let what we are doing this evening be a model for your priestly ministry. You will notice that the first half hour of our prayer here was in silence. You will need silence in your lives because a parish priest leads a very busy life and is constantly giving, constantly serving, constantly expending himself. There will be a necessity, a genuine need for that silence so that you may refresh yourself in the Presence of the Lord."

He told them that they will also need prayer to remain close to Jesus, the source of all of their ministerial work.

“To paraphrase the sentiments of St. John Vianney, ‘What a joy it is to spend time with the Lord in prayer.’ What a joy it is to be with the Lord,” Bishop Jugis said. “Or, even quoting St. Peter on the Mount of the Transfiguration, ‘Lord, how good it is to be here with you.’

“Prayer, and especially our Liturgy of the Hours, calls us back to prayer throughout the hours of the day to make sure that prayer is the foundation, the flowing current underneath every day of our activities."

He also reminded the five men that besides silence and prayer, a priest has the active ministry suggested by the day's letter of St. Peter (1 Peter 1:18-23): “‘You have purified yourselves for genuine love of your brothers, of the brethren, therefore love one another constantly from the heart.’

“You are going to be ministers, priests of the new covenant, which is the covenant of love. You must exemplify in your ministry, in your person, in your demeanor, Christ’s love,” Bishop Jugis said.

“St. Peter says you have purified yourselves. Of course, you have purified yourself because you have come to Christ and said, ‘Yes, live in me. I want to be your priest.’ But it is He who is actually, of course, doing the purifying. You have said yes and He enters in and is constantly going to be purifying you by His love, by His grace, so you become a living icon of Christ, who is the Love of the Father here present among us.

"So in the sacraments that you administer to the faithful – sacraments of Love, the Word that you will preach, the Holy Gospel, the Gospel of Love – your demeanor, your interaction through pastoral counseling and shepherding God’s people will be a ministry of love," he continued.

“But most especially, of course, the supreme work of your ministry, (is) the offering of Holy Mass. You are offering that love, day in and day out, and constantly then being nourished on the love of Christ for a genuine love of your brothers and sisters, for a genuine love for those whom you will meet in your ministry."

“So love one another constantly from the heart,” he said.

Watch the ordination Mass live June 17 at 9:30 a.m. here.


Watch the ordination Mass live June 17 at 9:30 a.m. here. - See more at:
Watch the ordination Mass live June 17 at 9:30 a.m. here. - See more at:
Watch the ordination Mass live June 17 at 9:30 a.m. here. - See more at:
Watch the ordination Mass live June 17 at 9:30 a.m. here. - See more at:
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After the Holy Hour, Bishop Jugis blessed the vestments and chalices each man had selected.

Peter Ascik
The vestment that Peter Ascik selected for his first Mass is in the Gothic style, white with gold striping in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross. “This is a typical style for the Latin rite,” he explained. “The white represents joy and the Resurrection, the newness of life that Christ gives us through the service of the priesthood. The gold is for the solemnity of the occasion of my first Mass.”

His chalice is of French origin, made in the 19th century and restored for use. “It is meaningful to me that I am receiving a chalice that was used by another priest, because the priesthood is also passed on through the apostolic succession, and all priests share in the priesthood of Christ as brothers,” he noted. On the base of the chalice are four relief images: Christ carrying the Cross, Christ pointing to His Sacred Heart, St. Joseph holding the Child Jesus, and St. Peter holding the Keys of the Kingdom.

“These images emphasize the presence of Jesus and His Paschal Mystery at the Mass and in the Eucharist. The image of St. Joseph is an image of the spiritual fatherhood that priests are called to exercise in union with St. Peter, the first pope and source of the unity of the whole Church,” he said.

Around the cup of the chalice are four inscriptions: “O Crux Spes Unica” ("O Cross, our only hope"), “Ecce Panis Angelicus” ("Behold the bread of Angels"), “Ecce Agnus Dei” ("Behold the Lamb of God"), and “Gloria in excelsis” ("Glory in the highest"). Along with the images, these inscriptions emphasize Jesus’ Presence in the Eucharist and the connection of the Eucharist with the Cross of Christ, the source of our life and hope, the power that transforms all suffering, pain and sin into new life.
Matthew Bean

Matthew Bean’s vestments for his first Mass, June 18, the Solemnity of the Precious Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, are gold and have the Sacred Heart of Jesus embroidered on the back. “I could not find a more fitting vestment to use on the day where we honor the Body and Blood of Christ to meditate on His Sacred Heart which was pierced for us,” he said. His chalice is of late 18th century French design and has the life of Christ depicted on the cup and the Passion of Christ on the base.

Brian Becker

Brian Becker’s vestments are a St. Philip Neri style, “which I like for the image of the cross yoked to the neck of the priest, recalling Matthew 11:28-30,” he noted. His chalice is Gothic-style, made in the 1940s. “I’ve grown to like this style of chalice a great deal, with its characteristic wide base, large node and small, v-shaped cup.”

Christopher Bond

Christopher Bond’s chasuble for his first Mass comes from France. “While it is presumably from the mid-19th century, its exact history is unknown,” he said. "The field of the full-cut, Roman-style chasuble is that of watered silk in the color of white. Every detail has been hand-embroidered and while the scroll and floral patterns on the front and back are extremely intricate, the overall appearance is simple and balanced." The monogram IHS is centered on the cross on the back. His chalice is an antique solid-silver Baroque-style chalice made in France circa 1838.

“The chalice is fully decorated with Eucharistic symbols and showcases three women around the cup, personifying the three theological virtues,” he explained. “St. Barbara depicts faith, St. Philomena depicts hope, and a woman nursing a child depicts charity.” His paten bears the engraved IHS monogram and an image of an engraved heart pierced by three swords.

Christian Cook

Christian Cook’s chalice is a gift from his father, William H. Cook Jr., and his aunts and uncles: Dr. Norbert and Mrs. Peggy Schneider of Chapel Hill, and Dr. Edward and Mrs. Rita Isbey of Asheville. “My entire immediate, and extended, family are represented in the gift of this chalice, which makes it extremely special,” he said. The chalice was acquired from an antiquities dealer in France. Dated from the middle 1860s, It is sterling silver gilded in gold, and has been beautifully restored. The matching paten has an image of Our Lord at the Last Supper on the underside, circled with the Crown of Thorns.

— SueAnn Howell, senior reporter

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