Local Religious life

A family affair

Strong family unit essential to Father Martinez’s vocation journey

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — No man ordained to the priesthood gets there alone, and Father Agustin Martinez is no exception.

The vocation of Father Martinez was born in the nurturing heart of the family, said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann in his ordination homily on May 28 at St. Peter Cathedral in Kansas City, Kansas.

“It may seem odd to some that at the ordination of a priest who has made a promise of celibacy . . . I begin by speaking about marriage and family life,” said the archbishop.

“For the past several years, the entire church has been focused on the importance of the family,” he reminded the congregation, “and, therefore, the importance of the Christian family’s foundation of faithful, unconditional and persevering love of husband and wife.”

Alternating between Spanish and English for the first half of the homily, Archbishop Naumann expressed his gratitude to Father Martinez’s parents — Juan and Catalina Martinez — for embracing the Lord’s call to take the path of heroic love in Christian marriage.

“Thank you for your openness to life and permitting God to use your love as the human instrument that he used to give Agustin life,” he said. “More signi cantly, it was your faith that made it possible for Agustin, through the waters of baptism, to receive the life of Jesus. It was because of your faith that Agustin received a share in the eternal life and the destiny to live with Our Lord and the saints forever.”

Father Martinez, 27, a native of Aguascalientes, Mexico, was ordained a transitional deacon by Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Oct. 1, 2015, at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. He completed his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and returned to be ordained for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

In addition to his parents, his brother and sister-in-law, as well as other relatives, journeyed from Mexico to witness the ordination.

Present for the ordination were several seminarians serving as acolytes, seven permanent deacons, newly ordained transitional deacons Daniel Coronado and Michael Guastello, masters of ceremony Msgr. Gary Applegate and Father John Riley, and over 50 priests, including cathedral rector Father Harold Schneider, vocations director Father Scott Wallisch and codirectors of seminarians Father Mitchel Zimmerman and Msgr. Michael Mullen. Also present from the Diocese of Aguascalientes, Mexico, was Father Jorge Humberto Pedroza.

Archbishop Naumann was the homilist, ordaining bishop and principal celebrant.

Members of various religious orders serving in the archdiocese were also present, as were many friends and supporters. After the homily, then-Deacon Martinez was called forward by Archbishop Naumann to take his “most important exam,” the five promises made by the ordinand. Having responded “I do” to each promise, Deacon Martinez knelt before the archbishop to make his promise of obedience. He next lay prostrate between the ambo and the altar as the Litany of theSaints was prayed.

At the conclusion of the litany, he then knelt before the archbishop and was ordained a priest by the laying on of hands and the prayer of ordination. Members of the presbyterate also came forward to pray for and lay hands on Father Martinez.

Father Martinez was then invested with his stole and chasuble by Father Jerry Arano-Ponce and Father Oswaldo Sandoval. After this, the archbishop anointed the hands of Father Martinez with sacred chrism. Father Martinez’s family brought up the gifts, including a chalice, which Archbishop Naumann presented to Father Martinez.

Father Martinez concelebrated the Mass at the side of Archbishop Naumann. At the sign of peace, each member of the presbyterate embraced Father Martinez as a brother.

There was a reception in the parish hall following the ordination Mass. Many people stood in line to receive a blessing from Father Martinez.

In his homily, Archbishop Naumann spoke of the great need for bilingual priests in the archdiocese. The very next day, Father Martinez celebrated Mass twice — the first time in English at St. Agnes Parish in Roeland Park, and the second in Spanish at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Topeka.

Father Martinez’s first assignment is as associate pastor of Prince of Peace Parish in Olathe.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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