By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
CLINTON — Priest-elect Dan Dorau lay prostrate in front of the sanctuary of Prince of Peace Catholic Church, concentrating on giving himself over to God as the congregation sang the Litany of Supplication. He got distracted thinking about the names of the saints being sung. “Then half-way through, this sense of peace came over me,” Father Dorau recalled after the ordination Mass on May 27.
Fr. Dorau is the first of two priests to be ordained this year for the Diocese of Davenport. Priest-elect Chris Weber will be ordained June 3 at Ss. Mary & Mathias Catholic Church in Muscatine. Usually, priests are ordained together at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport, but construction of a new diocesan hall required a change of venue. The parish for each ordination has a special connection with the ordinand.
The ordinations are the last ones for Bishop Amos as the diocese’s leader. He will retire June 22, when Bishop-elect Thomas Zinkula is ordained and installed as the Ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Davenport.
During his homily at Fr. Dorau’s ordination Mass, Bishop Amos reflected: “In preparing this homily I thought about speaking primarily to you, Dan. As I worked on that idea, I realized I couldn’t do so without speaking also to those who have gathered to celebrate with you.”
So, the bishop said: “We are bound together as brothers and sisters in the Lord through our common baptism and together we share in a common or universal priesthood of Jesus. And for us ordained priests, our ministerial priesthood is to serve that common priesthood. Our priesthood would have no meaning or purpose whatsoever without the common priesthood.
“For us to minister ‘in persona Christi,’ in the person of Christ, is to stand as mediator between God and God’s people and between God’s people and God. We bring God’s grace, forgiveness, and salvation to God’s people, and in turn bring the praise, thanksgiving and your intercessions to the throne of grace.”
Priestly life, like married life, has blessings and challenges, Bishop Amos said. “Sometimes the challenges are from within because of our own foibles, sins or insecurities. Sometimes they are from without, when days seem like the road to Calvary. But, at least for me, the difficulties of sacrifice and sorrow are far overshadowed by the joys and rewards of priesthood,” the bishop continued.
“You are being ordained into challenging times,” he told the ordinand. “But you come equipped with a good prayer life, a great education, the grace of the sacrament, a wonderful presbyterate, with family and friends, assigned to a wonderful pastor and parish.”
Prior to the homily, Father Thomas Hennen, diocesan director of vocations, testified to the worthiness of priest-elect Dorau. Bishop Amos responded: “We choose this man, our brother, for the Order of the Priesthood. Thanks be to God!” Following the homily, the soon-to-be priest promised faithful service in caring for the Lord’s flock, and obedience to the bishop as an ordained minister of the Catholic Church. Then he laid down for the Litany of Supplication. Afterwards, the bishop and the 21 priests concelebrating the Mass laid hands on priest-elect Dorau. The bishop prayed that the Spirit of holiness may be renewed deep within the new priest.
Father David Hemann vested Fr. Dorau, presenting him first with the stole, which the new priest kissed before putting on his chasuble over his alb.
He knelt before Bishop Amos, who anointed Fr. Dorau’s hands with the sacred chrism. The bishop handed the bread and wine to the new priest, praying: “Receive the oblation of the holy people, to be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s cross.” The sign of peace, followed, and his fellow priests each gave Fr. Dorau a generous hug.
Members of his family – parents Elaine and Tony Dorau, his siblings, and three of his four grown children – were among the congregation. Tony Dorau choked back tears trying to describe what the ordination Mass meant to him. “I can’t imagine the holiness … it’s beautiful.”
“I’m so happy for Dan,” Elaine Dorau said. “It was a beautiful service.” She said her family was so appreciative of the parish and of Bishop Amos. For her, the Liturgy of Supplication was a special moment.
David Dorau, a brother of the new priest, served as lector during the Mass. He highly values reading at Mass, and to do so at his brother’s ordination liturgy was wonderful. David said Dan felt a call to the priesthood throughout high school, but during college met his future wife and discerned a call to marriage. The couple had four children but later divorced, and the marriage was declared null. “Now he has fulfilled his early calling,” David said. “I think he is well equipped … he has a set of skills that are relevant to the church.”
Seminarian James Flattery, who served as the bishop’s miter bearer, got to know Fr. Dorau when he was living in the rectory at Immaculate Conception Parish in Colfax, Flattery’s home parish. “I was just coming into the seminary. To see his progress, to have him take me under his wing (was special).” Flattery was especially moved during the Mass to witness the priests exchange the sign of peace with their new brother priest. “You see the presbyterate come together, that outpouring of love.”
Seminarian Johnny Blauw, who served as thurifer during the Mass, said: “It was beautiful to be with Dan in this wonderful ministry.”
“It’s a prayerful witness to the people,” said Sister Kathleen Holland, OSF. On July 29, the parish will have another opportunity for prayerful witness when novice Emily Brabham professes first vows with the Sisters of St. Francis. “It really is an opportunity that most parishes won’t have!”
Fr. Dorau experienced prayerful witness at his ordination Mass. At the beginning, he stood in a pew reserved for deacons, of which he was one at that moment. “I was looking out at the whole church. I was getting choked up thinking about it, just trying to fathom the whole ordination (liturgy) for the church. It’s such a glorious thing that everyone came together to celebrate a new priest. I was so humbled.”
He has no regrets about having discerned a vocation to marriage and family, and didn’t reconsider a vocation to the priesthood until after the marriage annulment. “The priest who vested me is the one who planted the seed in my heart that maybe God was calling me again.”
When Fr. Hemann “came over to me with the stole and offered it for me to kiss – that was very touching to me,” Fr. Dorau said.
“It was glorious,” said Father Ken Kuntz, pastor of Prince of Peace. “It’s a blessed day for us at Prince of Peace to have the ordination here and to have our new hall blessed.” Asked about a special moment during the ordination Mass, Fr. Kuntz said, “What really got to me was when he kissed the stole. I’ve seen it so many times … it reminds us that the cross leads to new life.”
Forty years ago, the special moment at Fr. Kuntz’s ordination came during the Litany of Supplication. “I was a nervous wreck until I felt all the saints washing over me … when I stood up, I was totally calm.”