Archdiocese ordains trio to the priesthood
by Joe Bollig
There could hardly have been a better place for a trio of men to be ordained to the priesthood, on May 28, than Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann ordained Deacon John Nicholas Blaha, Deacon Barry Robert Clayton, and Deacon Michael Joseph Peterson priests through the ancient and apostolic tradition of the laying on of hands.
Not only was this “trinity” of men ordained at a parish dedicated to the Holy Trinity, each candidate had a personal connection to the parish, said Archbishop Naumann in his homily.
Father Blaha was baptized at the parish, Father Clayton’s parents were married at the old stone church, and Father Peterson spent two summers at Holy Trinity for his pastoral internships as a seminarian, said the archbishop.
Archbishop Naumann noted that the selection and ordination of men to the priesthood was one of the most important responsibilities of a bishop.
“Priestly ordination is not something that you just apply for or decide on your own that you are going to do,” said the archbishop. “You can eliminate yourself from qualifying as a candidate for priestly ordination by doing poorly academically, or failing other aspects of seminary formation.”
“However, the converse is not true,” he continued. “No matter how high your grade point average or how well you do with the spiritual, human and even pastoral aspects of formation, no one has the right to priestly ordination.”
Rather, he explained, it is the church and the local bishop who call men to be ordained to priestly ministry.
“It is indeed one of the most important responsibilities of the bishop,” he said. “If the church chooses wisely her priests, then the church thrives. It is my opinion that amongst all my responsibilities as archbishop, the most important is in the selection, forma – tion, and ordination of priests for the arch – diocese.”
The archbishop thanked all those who had fostered the vocations of the three men, especially their parents, some of whom are deceased.
“We’re grateful to all our parents for planting the seed of faith in the hearts of their sons, helping to nurture their friendship with Jesus, as well as modeling for them a life of virtue,” said Archbishop Naumann.
He recognized the representatives of the seminaries the three ordinandi attended, as well as president Michael McClean of St. Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., where Father Blaha studied.
Archbishop Naumann also expressed his appreciation and gratitude to Msgr. Michael Mullen, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, Kan., and Father Mitchel Zimmerman, archdiocesan vocations director, who serve as co-directors of seminarians for the arch – diocese.
The archbishop also thanked Holy Trinity pastor Father Tom Dolezal and parishioners for hosting the liturgy and the luncheon that followed.
Father Clayton, 29, attended Conception Seminary in Conception, Mo., and then KenrickGlennon Seminary in St. Louis. His parents are Mark Clayton and Christine Riscoe.
Father Peterson, 58, attended Blessed John XXIII National Seminary near Boston. His parents are Clayton and the late Irene Pe – terson.
Father Blaha, 31, attended St. Mary of the Lake Seminary at Mundelein College, near Chicago. His parents are John and Barbara Blaha.
The three men were ordained to the transitional diaconate on May 22, 2010, at Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park.
Archbishop Naumann was the ordaining bishop and principal celebrant. Archbishop Emeritus James P. Keleher and approximately 56 priests concelebrated. Approximately 13 deacons and 26 seminarians were also present.
Also in attendance were Father Emery de Gaal from Mundelein Seminary, Father William Parlardy from Blessed John XXIII Semi – nary, Father Paul Rothschild from KenrickGlennon Seminary, and Father Adam Ryan from Conception Seminary.
Father Clayton was vested by Father Brian Schieber and Father William Bruning; Father Peterson was vested by Father Dolezal; Father Blaha was vested by Father Thomas Holloway.
After they were vested the newly ordained priests joined Archbishop Naumann, Archbishop Keleher, and other members of the presbyterate at the altar as concelebrants.
An honor guard was provided by Knights of Columbus fourth-degree assemblies No. 2260 St. Philippine Duchesne of Olathe and No. 0292 Bishop John Ward of Shawnee.