Most of all, I remember those all too many images that seemed contrary and opposing yet somehow necessary and telling: entering that Cathedral as a Baptized child of God so as to leave as Christ the Bridegroom’s Ordained Priest; lying face down on that cold, hard marble floor of the Cathedral with the angelic chant of the Litany of the Saints while rising to prepare for His Glory; tears that unceasingly flowed while I hysterically laughed at the same time because of such an overwhelming joy; kneeling, praying and praising during the Veni Sancte Spiritus while Bishop Pilla and virtually every priest in the Diocese processed for the laying on of hands (Fr. Schleicher’s hands as well) upon my head...a sinful man who was flawed and unknowing of what it means to become in persona Christi, In the Person of Jesus Christ, yet on May 30, 1998 on the feast day of St. Joan of Arc and the Vigil day of Pentecost Sunday, my soul and life was changed forever...in the line of Melchizedek I was told “you are a Priest forever.” How did it all happen? How could it have already been twenty years when I was first invited into a life and love that would bring me more joy than I could ever imagine.
Who would ever have imagined at the very time St. Francis de Sales Church was celebrating their 50th Anniversary I would be becoming a Roman Catholic Priest? Who else but God would ever have dreamed that Fr. Francis Diederich who Baptized my Dad should be asked to be the founding pastor of our parish, and that my Mom’s high school teacher, Fr. James Schleicher, should be our parish’s second pastor...and who would ever have imagined at the very time St. Francis de Sales Church was celebrating their 50th Anniversary I would be becoming a Roman Catholic Priest...all so that I could become the third pastor of this glorious parish. Thank you for your love and shaping my heart to become like The Father’s.
On this Pentecost weekend, it feels amazing to be twenty years old! I have been blessed beyond words. The gift of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ has brought me a profound joy and a desire to faithfully live it through the years with the Church of St. Clare, St. Barnabas, St. Francis de Sales and wherever He leads me for all eternity. Pray for my parents, sisters and family who have collectively sacrificed more than I could ever tell you...just so I could be your Priest!
Remember next week we are celebrating the actual day our parish began on Sunday, May 27 @11:00 a.m. Following the Mass our Parish Pastoral Council has some surprises for you: the introduction of a new parish “mark” (image/logo) that our parish and school are using for our 70th Anniversary (designed by our very own Ms. Brianna McVicker, BFA), a Mass Journal and 70th commemorative pen (since St. Francis is the patron of writers and spiritual directors—thank you Koncz family and the Murphy’s), and an ice cream social where our new parish mugs will be distributed.
Come Holy Spirit and Renew the face of the Earth! Pax, Fr. Bline
“The Priesthood is the heart of Jesus Christ. When you see a Priest think of Jesus Christ.”
(St. John Vianney)