Yesterday with friends and family present both in person and online, I was ordained a Catholic Priest in a small Presbyterian church that gave us the use of their sanctuary here in Toronto. I didn’t really know how I was going to feel. There were butterflies in my tummy most of the time, and I sweat. A lot.
I’m cursed that way I suppose that on the paternal side of the family, there’s hyper sweating. To say I was drenched by the end of the service was an understatement. But I was glad that after four years, and after waiting through almost a year of pandemic restrictions, I can finally say that I have realized my vocation fully. I am a priest.
I am a priest.
I was numb to that for almost a full day. I didn’t feel different per say, just exhausted.
When I was four years old, my parents let me watch “The Sound of Music”, and after that I knew what I wanted to be: a nun. I asked my mom, she told me I couldn’t because they were women, and besides, they were actresses.
Of course, I want to be an actress.
Instead, I tried over the last year to learn the nuances of Ecclesiastical Latin, the rubrics of the Roman Missal of the Tridentine Mass, prayed, cried, laughed, worried, and at last, celebrated today my first Mass at the same Presbyterian church that I was ordained in yesterday.
Today, even with the nerves, it felt like I was doing what I’d been called to do. After I gave my first homily, I stood in front of the altar. My hands began to tremble as I recited the creed. I made mistakes–but what priest on their first mass didn’t make mistakes? They were small mistakes. They were forgivable mistakes. When I consecrated the bread, the wine, when I prayed to the act of communion, and finally took bread that I had consecrated, I cried. In many ways, it was the same emotional connection I’d experienced in doing the practice Masses prior to coming here.
The reality of what had happened sunk in. That, in consecrating bread and wine the first time, I now have access to the Eucharist. As a Catholic, this is one of the most important parts of our spiritual lives–as a Eucharistic Catholic, this is an essential part of my spiritual life.
I go back to Regina with my fiancé and my mom on Tuesday afternoon, back to life. We still have some visits to make, some places to explore. I’m hoping that I get a chance to go to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish to light a candle and spend some time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
I feel tired. Fulfilled and tired.
There are a lot of people to acknowledge and thank, so many that I need to do it after a good night’s rest so I make sure not to miss anyone. But one person that must be thanked now is Julie Andrews. If it weren’t for the Sound of Music, I wouldn’t have known at age 4 that I was destined to be a person in religious life. Corny, I know. But you have to accept where the beginnings come from, and love them as part of your story.