By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY — After seven ordinations since December 2011, there will be no priestly ordinations for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in 2013.
But that made the spirit of anticipation, in keeping with the season of Advent, even sharper as 24 of the 26 young men studying for the priesthood and their families joined members of the diocese’s three Serra Club chapters and Bishop Robert W. Finn for Mass and a dinner party Dec. 17 at St. Thomas More Parish.
And four of the young men, and their Serra supporters, won’t have to wait much longer. They will be ordained next year as transitional deacons, completing a final year of service before their anticipated ordinations in 2014.
• John Fitzpatrick, of St. Francis Xavier Parish in St. Joseph, who is completing studies at Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.
• Leonard Gicheru, of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Gladstone, who is completing studies at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Conn.
• Daniel Gill, of Christ the King Parish in Kansas City, who is completing studies at Pontifical College Josephinum.
• Eric Schneider, of Christ the King Parish in Kansas City, who is completing studies at Pontifical College Josephinum.
But like the generations of God’s chosen people who waited for their Messiah, Bishop Finn told the congregation in his homily that he can wait a little while longer for God to send him more young priests.
“Even though the people of God had failed and rejected his plan through original sin, God promised them a savior,” Bishop Finn said. “And generation after generation after generation, they waited until in Jesus, a savior was born.”
God’s people must wait patiently, a virtue that Bishop Finn admitted he struggles with at times.
“There are times when we have to wait for things we need in our family, in church, in our lives, and I’m not always patient in my waiting,” he said.
“But we have a promise in Jesus Christ. Those generations knew this promise, so they waited. They lived in faith, even in joyful anticipation and hope,” Bishop Finn said.
Like those ancient generations, God’s people today are waiting for Christ to come again. But unlike those generations before, today’s believers have been given special gifts to help them wait.
“We have the benefit of his Gospel,” Bishop Finn said. “We have the benefit of his sacraments. We have the benefit of his revealed truth.”
And that is the vocation to which the seminarians of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are called, their bishop told them.
“We are called as followers of Jesus Christ to help people wait in hope,” he said. “We are to be the fulfillment of the pledge of hope in Jesus Christ.”
That hope is especially needed in the world today, and especially in the wake of the mass murder of 26 people, including 20 children, that happened just days earlier at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“The horrible tragedy in Connecticut, the inexplicable horror of the deaths of all those babies, has captured the attention of the world,” Bishop Finn said.
“But there is hope,” he said. “Jesus Christ has pronounced that even through the passage of death, there is life.”
It is that message of hope that the world when it is grieving needs to hear, and that is the job of all believers, and particularly that of God’s chosen priests.
“Our seminarians and priests must be dedicated to be the messengers of Jesus Christ in the world,” Bishop Finn said.
“This is what you and I can remind each other of constantly,” he said. “Yes, the economy is threatening us. Yes, there is division. But we never give up because we are waiting in faith and joy.”
That vocation isn’t always easy in the modern world, Bishop Finn said. But it must be followed.
“It takes the power of our belief in Jesus to stand up, to profess that Jesus Christ is above all else, and he is in charge. He is the Lord. He is the one worthy to receive our obedience and our discipleship.”
Bishop Finn urged the seminarians to continue to pray and to encourage each other.
“So we pray, ‘Increase our faith,’” he said.
“When the wait gets long, let us continue to strengthen and encourage one another. Never let each other forget what is truly important so that the world may believe,” Bishop Finn said.
Only two seminarians were unable to attend the annual Serra Club Christmas celebration this year. They were Alex Kreidler, of St. James Parish in St. Joseph, who is studying at Pontifical North American College in Rome; and Curt Vogel of St. Bridget Parish in Pleasant Hill, who is studying at Pontifical College Josephinum.
Other seminarians who attended are:
Pontifical North American College: Andrew Mattingly, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in St. Joseph.
Conception Seminary College: Trevor Downey, St. Margaret of Scotland Parish in Lee’s Summit; Samuel Geringer, St. George Parish in Odessa; Olivon Giron, Holy Cross Parish in Kansas City; Jorge Andres Moreno, St. Patrick Parish in St. Joseph.
St. Gregory the Great Seminary: Justin Olson, Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Kansas City; Maximillian Potts, Old St. Patrick Oratory in Kansas City; Jared Samson, St. Sabina Parish in Belton; Tyler Sanders, Holy Rosary Parish in Clinton.
Pontifical College Josephinum: Bryan Amthor, St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Tarkio; Joshua Bartlett, Holy Family Parish in Kansas City; Ryan Koster, St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Gladstone; Gabriel Lickteig, St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City; Samuel Miloscia, Christ the King Parish in Kansas City; Mark Michael Seeger, Christ the King Parish in Kansas City.
Holy Apostles College and Seminary: David Chunn, St. Rose of Lima Parish in Savannah; Levi Cochenour, St. Joseph Parish in Trenton; Jonathan Davis, St. Therese Parish in Parkville; Philip Sgrignoli, St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Kansas City; Luis Felipe Suarez, Holy Cross Parish in Kansas City.