By Barb Arland Fye
Two years ago, my husband Steve and I drove through the night from a conference in Indianapolis back to Davenport to avoid missing an ordination Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Witnessing the sacrament of ordination to the diaconate or priesthood is a priority for me as editor of The Catholic Messenger and as a member of our diocesan Church.
A scheduling conflict between this year’s ordination Mass on June 7 and a family celebration in the Twin Cities had me in a quandary. The family event takes place the same day that five men will be ordained at Sacred Heart Cathedral — Deacons Kevin Anstey, Bob Cloos and Chris Young to the priesthood and seminarians Bill Roush and Guillermo Treviño to the diaconate.
This ordination Mass has a historic element as well: Deacon Young is a married, former Episcopal priest with three grown children. His acceptance into the priesthood required permission from Pope Francis, based on a 1980 pastoral provision granting admission to Catholic ministry of married, former Episcopal priests. Deacon Young will become the first clergyman in our diocese to enter the priesthood under that pastoral provision.
Fortunately, with the blessing of Steve, I’ll attend the ordination Mass while Steve and our older son, Colin, serve as representatives of the “LeClaire Fyes” at the family event.
The first ordination Mass I attended and covered (with Assistant Editor Anne Marie Amacher and then-reporter Joel Donofrio) took place June 14, 2003, when Father Paul Appel, Father Jeffry Belger and Father Troy Richmond became priests.
Scheduling conflicts must have occurred two other years because I missed ordination Masses for Father Thom Hennen (July 10, 2004) and Father Bruce DeRammelaere (June 10, 2006). Father Ron Hodges also entered the priesthood in 2006 (June 4), but was ordained at St. Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Ind.
My close friend Marcia Chambers Regrut and I covered the ordination Mass for Father Bill Wiegand on June 4, 2005, with Marcia taking photos because Anne Marie was out of the country. Marcia, an Anglican who has since returned to her beloved Colorado, deeply appreciated the rituals of the ordination Masses she attended. Her appreciation helped deepen mine.
Four of the 12 years since I’ve been editor have been without a Mass of ordination to the priesthood: 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011. During each of those years, one or more men were ordained to the diaconate; in 2002, eight married men were ordained to the permanent diaconate, the first class in a decade.
In 2008, with Anne Marie, out of the country again, I had responsibility for both the story and photographs of the ordination Mass for Father Hai Duc Dinh and Father Joseph Sia (May 10). Sacred Heart Cathedral’s lighting can be a challenge, depending on the time of day, the weather conditions, and the photographer, of course!
For the past several years in which ordinations have taken place, whether of deacons or priests, Anne Marie and I have tag-teamed for coverage. We believe the quality of the story and photos benefit from one of us concentrating on reporting and writing and the other on photography.
Together, we covered the ordination Masses for Father Joseph Nguyen (May 22, 2010); Father Corey Close (June 23, 2012); Father Steve Witt (Dec. 15, 2012); and Father Jacob Greiner (May 25, 2013).
We look forward to continuing the tradition on June 7.