Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 29, 2010
Fr. Schumacher told to follow St. Joseph
Newly-ordained priest brings gentleness in his speech, genuine love for Jesus
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - Follow the model of St. Joseph. That was Archbishop Richard Smith's advice to Michael Schumacher, ordained a priest March 19, the feast of St. Joseph.
Being a follower of St. Joseph means living a life of faith and obedience, the archbishop told a standing room only congregation at St. Joseph's Basilica, filled with family, friends and priests from throughout the archdiocese.
If the expression on the new priest's face was any indication of his feelings towards his ordination, he was very pleased. Schumacher, 30, was all smiles from start to finish.
Schumacher thanked the staff of St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College for the training and formation that he received under their care for the last five and a half years.
"I am greatly indebted to you all. I also exhort all who have heard the call of God to respond in trust and generosity to that call," he said.
Smith, presiding at the ordination, said the archdiocesan family of priests is grateful to Schumacher for heeding the call to the priesthood, and said it's particularly appropriate during the Year for Priests.
"Although the Church acknowledges that the effects of a priest's ministry is dependent upon Christ and not the personal worthiness of the minister, nevertheless we should always praise with grace and holiness those who hold this sacred office," said the archbishop.
"Ordination makes a man a priest. Of itself, it does not make a man a good priest. For this, the grace of holiness is required. Therefore, Michael, stay close to Christ, who by the gift of the Holy Spirit will enable you to participate in his holiness."
To learn what the Church means by holiness, Smith advised learning from the example of St. Joseph, the patron saint of both the Edmonton Archdiocese and the country.
The first lesson is that holiness is rooted in faith.
"The second important lesson we learn from St. Joseph is that the performative expression of faith is obedience. Because we trust in the love and fidelity of our God, we obey his word always even when he takes us in unexpected directions, beyond the reach of human understanding," said Smith.
In the call to make Mary his wife, Joseph was asked to step beyond, far beyond, the familiar, the expected, and the reasonable.
"Joseph does not ask for a roadmap or timelines. He does not protest his unworthiness or present reasons why somebody else might be more suitable for the task. Sufficient for him is the nomination of the call from God."
Through faith and obedience, St. Joseph chose holiness. His life served as a guide for others. Smith told Schumacher to pray that this would form the pattern for his whole life.
"Michael, set aside your plans. Follow Christ's purposes for you. You are responding today in faith with obedience. Learn from this experience because it will happen again and again and again."
Similarly, Schumacher promised respect and obedience to Smith and his successors.
Fathers Paul Terio and Dennis Lamey invested Schumacher with his stole and chasuble.
In concluding his homily, Smith told Schumacher that there is nothing more beautiful than knowing Jesus, following him and announcing him to others.
Schumacher's call to the priesthood came while he was attending college. Studying visual communications and majoring in illustration, he was vying for his bachelor of design. After much discernment in the years that followed, he decided to change directions and become a priest.
Father Sylvain Casavant, parish priest at St. Thomas More, earlier told the WCR that Schumacher brings gentleness in his speech and genuineness in his love for Jesus. Those two traits, he said, should make for a good priest.
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