By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY — His parents, grandparents and brothers and sisters came from the St. Louis area to share in Deacon Samuel Miloscia’s joy as Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr. ordained him a priest of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph May 28.
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception glowed as priests garbed in white and gold, religious sisters, deacons, seminarians, Knights of Columbus, men and women of the Orders of Malta and the Holy Sepulcher, and throngs of friends and well-wishers filled the pews.
Deacon Miloscia entered the Cathedral led by diocesan Vocations director, Father Richard Rocha and Vocations administrator, Father Greg Lockwood. Deacon Miloscia kept his eyes focused on the crucifix to the right of the altar as he processed toward the front of the Cathedral. Bishop Johnston came last.
The readings reminded the young man that God had known him before he was formed, before he was born God dedicated him and appointed him a prophet to the nations. “To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak (Jeremiah 1:4-7).
And the second reading: “Tend the flock of God in your midst, [overseeing] not by constraint but willingly … eagerly … be examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:1-4).”
Deacon Jonathon Davis, ordained to the Transitional Diaconate May 21, sang the Gospel: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love… It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another (John 15: 1-7).”
In his homily, Bishop Johnston expressed gratitude to Deacon Miloscia’s family, for the domestic church his parents, Stephen and Beverly, “founded on their married love, which produced their own Twelve Apostles,” of which Samuel was to be second son to be ordained a priest. Acknowledging Deacon Miloscia’s siblings, Adrienne, Teresa, Maria, Lucia, Olivia, Beverly, Stephen Jr., David, Joseph, Anthony and John Paul, the bishop advised “Sam, stay closely connected to your family and they will be a great source of support and strength. They will keep you grounded and help you to be a better priest as you share in their joys and sorrows. They will give you a deeper insight into the beauty and the challenges of the lay vocation as you grow as a priest and a pastor. “
He delved a bit into “one of the awesome, humbling and yes even shocking things about the mysterious ways of God” — “He chooses to rely on human beings and human choices to bring about His will. Like His invitation to Mary at the Annunciation, He chooses us, invites us and then waits for us to choose Him.”
If he is honest, the bishop continued, “every priest looks upon his own life and vocation with amazement and a certain amount of ‘holy fear’ — amazement that God would choose to depend on him for such important work: work that will have eternal consequences for so many, including himself … Christ relies on the flesh and blood of the priest, with all his shortcomings and weaknesses, with his unique personality and gifts, to serve as the vessel which makes Him present to His body, the church.
Addressing Deacon Miloscia, he said, “Sam, in a few moments you will be asked five questions which touch on the duties of a priest.” He described the queries.
“First: you will be called to dedicate yourself to working with me, your bishop, to care for the needs of the Lord’s flock.
“You will be asked about your resolve to celebrate faithfully and reverently the mysteries of Christ, especially the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, and the sacrament of Reconciliation, all for the sanctification of the flock.
“You will be asked about your resolve to pray unceasingly for the God’s people and the giving of your life for their welfare and progress toward salvation.
“Finally, as you begin your life and ministry today … commend yourself to the love and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to St. Joseph. God the Father entrusted Jesus to them, and so it should be with you.”
Father Rocha then requested the bishop ordain Deacon Miloscia to “the responsibility of the priesthood,” testifying “that he has been found worthy.”
Bishop Johnston announced that “we choose our bother for the Order of the Priesthood.”
Deacon Miloscia stood before him, answering the five questions clearly and readily. He declared his willingness to undertake the responsibilities of the ministerial priesthood, then placed his hands between Bishop Johnston’s hands and promised respect and obedience to him and to his successors.
Deacon Miloscia was escorted to the front of the altar, where he prostrated himself. The congregation joined the choir in the Litany of Supplication, praying for God’s grace and mercy for the young man.
Through the laying on of his hands and the Prayer of Ordination, Bishop Johnston conferred the Gift of the Holy Spirit for priestly office upon Sam Miloscia. The ancient gesture was repeated by the 43 priests present at the ordination.
As the newly ordained Father Miloscia faced the congregation, his brother Father David Miloscia, ordained for the Archdiocese of St. Louis last May, approached him, with the stole and chasuble to vest him.
Father David later commented that “vesting his brother was surreal, one of the top five experiences of his life, after his own ordination.” He also recalled that when he was “on the fence,” struggling to decide if he wanted to be a priest, Sam helped David make up his mind, and for that he is grateful.
The hands of the newly ordained priest were anointed with Sacred Chrism, consecrated for priestly ministry and presiding at the celebration of the Eucharist.
The rite continued with the offering of the bread and wine, which were presented to Father Miloscia by the bishop, with exhortations to model his life on the mystery of the cross and to imitate the mystery he celebrates.
The Fraternal Kiss of Peace by the bishop and the other priests welcome Father Miloscia into the shared ministry of the priesthood and co-workers with the bishop.
The Mass continued, with Father Miloscia concelebrating with the bishop, his brother Father David and Father Rocha through the Consecration and the distribution of the Eucharist. Following Communion, Bishop Johnston blessed Father Miloscia, who then imparted his first blessing to the bishop, and then to his parents and family.
The congregation then joined the bishop in the concluding prayer for Father Miloscia and for all present. The music soared from the choir loft, danced around the Cathedral gathering all the prayers and sending them toward heaven as the procession of priests and seminarians left the Cathedral.
Father Samuel Miloscia has been assigned to assist Msgr. Brad Offutt in his new assignment at Visitation Parish in Kansas City, effective July 1.