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You’ll notice that this month has a lot of priests celebrating their anniversaries – this is because the Archdiocese of Seattle typically celebrates ordinations on the first or second Saturday of June. You may recall that we celebrated the ordination of two new priests just over a week ago, welcoming Father Maximiliano Muñoz and Father Kyle Rink into ministry in the Pacific Northwest.

My own ordination anniversary is June 13, 2009 – fifteen years ago this Thursday and also the memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua. I had previously chosen him as my patron saint when I was confirmed. When I was ordained a deacon in 2008 (August 23), circumstances conspired such that my home parish wasn’t available and the Mass was celebrated at the parish where I was confirmed (under Saint Anthony’s patronage). So when the ordination Mass in 2009 landed on June 13th, I couldn’t help but conclude that the Lord was sending me a signal grace. And, as it turns out, Saint Anthony has proven to be a powerful intercessor: any fear I once had of preaching has long since passed!

Another grace of that weekend was that the solemnity of Corpus Christi was the same weekend that year. I celebrated my first Mass of thanksgiving at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Bremerton – and that year the pastor had decided to re-institute Eucharistic processions. As if the first full day of my priesthood wasn’t wonderful enough, I also participated my first Eucharistic procession along with a few hundred Catholics in the streets of Bremerton – a fitting way to begin my own ministry in the archdiocese. It has been an amazing since and I’m excited to see what delights & surprises the Lord has in store.

llustration of Ephrem the Syrian

June 9 – Today is the memorial of Saint Ephrem, a deacon and doctor of the Church. Recognized by his bishop for his gift at beautifully illustrating his zeal in his words, he was appointed a teacher in the region of Nisibis (modern-day Turkey). After his death, he came to be especially venerated in Syriac Christianity Read more about him at the Vatican News website.

A painting of Saint Barnabas holding a scroll in one hand with flames above his other and the cross leaning over his shoulder

June 11 – Today is the memorial of Saint Barnabas the apostle. Most of what we know about him comes from the Acts of Apostles. Though technically not one of the apostles, he has traditionally been given that title. Barnabas was one of the first to receive Paul upon his conversion and travel with him in mission work. Tradition also tells us that he was martyred in Cyprus – he is also credited as the founder of the Cypriot Orthodox Church. Read more about him at Catholic Culture.

A painting of Saint Anthony looking down at baby Jesus, held in his hands. Jesus is holding a lily as he looks up at Anthony.

June 13 – Today is the memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua. His story has always delighted me. A simple Franciscan, he was thrust into the limelight when Dominican preachers didn’t show up on time to give the homily at an ordination Mass. Anthony was tapped to preach instead and proved to have an extraordinary gift! His superiors were so impressed that they sent him off for further studies – he eventually became a teacher himself. When his body was exhumed long after his death, his tongue was found to be incorrupt – a miraculous reflection of the great faculty he had in preaching during his life. Read more at the Vatican News website.

A painting of the prophet Elisha refusing gifts from Naaman after his miraculous healing

June 14 – With the (natural) focus by Christians on the New Testament, we can sometimes forget about the teaching and example of the many saints of the Old Testament. Today is the memorial of Saint Elisha the prophet. Though perhaps most famous for having followed in the footsteps of the prophet Elijah, his mentor before being taken up into heaven, the Lord abundantly blessed Elisha in his own ministry. It was to Elisha that Naaman came to seek healing from his leprosy and, upon bathing in the Jordan at Elisha’s command, was healed and subsequently committed himself to only ever making burnt offerings or sacrifices to God. And if you’re wondering about that story in the Bible about Elisha, children, and bears, check out this commentary from Catholic Answers’.

Priests celebrating their anniversaries this week

A color line art picture of people gathered around an altar as incense rises above them to heaven before the three Persons of the Trinity, Mary & Joseph, and all the saints & angels.

Remembering our deceased priests

  • Fr. Patrick McNerney (June 9, 1963)
  • Fr. Thomas L. O’Brien (June 9, 1979)
  • Fr. John O’Hagan (June 11, 1938)
  • Fr. James F. Lanigan (June 12, 1962)
  • Fr. Thomas J. Phelan (June 12, 2012)
  • Fr. Thomas Hanley (June 13, 1983)
A black and white line art drawing of Christ the judge enthroned within an arch with angels seated on pillars to His right and left with stars behind him.