By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — One man wanted to be a priest since childhood; the other is responding to a later-in-life calling. The two men were ordained June 30 by Bishop Thomas Zinkula at Sacred Heart Cathedral — Father John Lamansky to the priesthood and Deacon Terry Ball to the diaconate. God willing, Deacon Ball will be ordained a priest next year.
Bishop Emeritus Martin Amos, who celebrated his 50th anniversary as a priest this year, was among the concelebrants at the ordination Mass. Bishop Zinkula congratulated his predecessor after the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and then quipped to the newly ordained priest and deacon: “Terry and John, you have a ways to go to catch up with him!”
The joy exuded at the ordination Mass on a hot summer day was palpable. The congregation responded with gratitude in prayer and in song, including “O God, Beyond All Praising” during preparation of the gifts. Karen Crossland of St. Mary Parish in Fairfield noted that two members of the diocesan choir were from her parish. “That made it a little more angelic,” she joked.
During Liturgy of Ordination, Father Thom Hennen gave testimony to the worthiness of each candidate. The congregation applauded as the bishop declared the election of each man for his order of ordination. Their faces beamed as they faced the congregation.
Bishop Zinkula, in his homily, shared the wisdom that comes from his more than 25 years in the priesthood. “When I was a deacon preparing for the priesthood, I adopted an informal motto: ‘strong, loving and wise.’ While those were good ideals for someone newly ordained, I eventually discovered that they needed to be qualified and modified.”
Years later, while attending a seminar for priests beginning ministry as seminary rectors, he was inspired by a presenter who spoke of another set of ideals: gentle, patient and uncertain. Those seemed to be much better ideals for a mature priest, Bishop Zinkula said, so he adopted them for his 25th anniversary.
He asked the congregation to reflect with him on the two sets of ideals, which he wove together to illustrate how they could benefit all clergy, married couples and others. Being strong, for example, can morph into “heavy-handedness, imposition of my will on others, or bullying someone to get what I want.” “Gentle” is a good modifier for strong. “Good leaders influence others by being consultative, collaborative and seeking consensus.”
Loving, another ideal, as Jesus talked about it, is intentional — an act of will. Love should be patient and kind, as Paul tells the Corinthians. In practice, that means “Loving parishioners even when they are not loving or lovable; as for example, changing the Mass schedule! Being present to people who are sick, depressed, disabled, imprisoned, dying, grieving … encountering them, listening to them … Taking people where they are … leaving room for growth and the movement of the Holy Spirit.”
In weaving together the ideals of wise and uncertain, he noted “there is wisdom in the pews. We need to discern the sense of the faithful; we can learn a lot from the people we serve and the situations we encounter. We don’t have to have all the answers; we can search for them together.”
After making promises to the church, the two ordinands laid face down on the cathedral floor for the singing of the Litany of Supplication. The congregation asked the saints to intercede for the elect and for the needs of all. At the advice of a priest, Fr. Lamansky didn’t think about the words being prayed. He let the people pray for him while he prayed for his ministry and the people he will be serving, he said after the Mass. For Deacon Ball, the litany was a highlight — “praying for all the saints to come and be present.” He believes his late wife, Mona, is among them. “Mona is just thrilled … and she’s saying she will continue to pray unceasingly for me.”
A tremendous gift
Laying on of Hands and Prayer of Ordination to the Diaconate followed the litany. Bishop Zinkula prayed that Deacon Ball “might be strengthened by the sevenfold gift of [God’s] grace for the faithful carrying out of the work of the ministry.” “It was so powerful,” Deacon Ball said after Mass. “I felt the Holy Spirit coming down and inspiring me to be loving, merciful and kind in all of my actions.”
Father Dan Dorau, a former classmate, vested Deacon Ball with stole and dalmatic. Bishop Zinkula handed the Book of the Gospels to the new deacon and prayed: “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”
Then Father-elect Lamansky knelt before Bishop Zinkula to be ordained to the priesthood. Holding the bishop’s book of prayers was seminarian Scott Foley, a classmate of Fr. Lamansky in Rome before taking a pastoral year in the diocese. “He was radiant,” Foley said of the new priest. “I knew how much this meant to him. To share in his joy was a blessing.” Foley will return to Rome this fall to complete his studies and prepare for his ordination to the priesthood next year, God willing.
One by one, first Bishop Zinkula and more than 50 priests laid hands on the head of Fr. Lamansky, whose eyes were closed in prayerful concentration. From a front pew, his mother, Ann Lamansky, dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. “It’s very surreal,” she said after the Mass. “I was overcome with joy and wonder. It is a tremendous gift; God chose John to receive this gift.”
Father Charles Fladung vested the new priest with stole and chasuble after which the bishop anointed Fr. Lamansky’s hands with oil. In handing the bread and wine to Fr. Lamansky, Bishop Zinkula prayed: “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.”
Bishop Zinkula shared the sign of peace with Fr. Lamansky and with Deacon Ball, who in turn exchanged the sign of peace with their respective orders — the presbyters and the deacons. The Liturgy of the Eucharist followed, and Fr. Lamansky walked up the steps to the altar to serve as a concelebrant. He said afterwards, “That was certainly my highlight” of the Mass. As a new priest, he looks most forward to “helping people discover God’s love for them.”
Quotes from Liturgy of Ordination
Bishop Thomas Zinkula: “I was nervous,” he said of his first experience ordaining a priest to the priesthood. At the same time, “It was cool because of that. Hopefully there will be many more.”
Dan Lamansky, father of Fr. Lamansky: “He’s talked about being a priest from a very young age. … I have every confidence that he will do quite well.” His son’s ordination is “an honor for the whole family, for the whole church and the diocese.”
James Lamansky, a brother of Fr. Lamansky: “It was so beautiful to see the whole church come together. It was really a touching ceremony with all of the priests, the brotherhood of the clergy, and now he’s one of them. Hopefully he’ll be a bishop in a few years!”
Nate Lamansky, a brother of Fr. Lamansky: Nate was one of two cantors during the Mass. He felt honored to be asked by his big brother to serve in that role. “He been studying and preparing for this for a long time. I was honored to be here.”
Fr. Lamansky: He will return to Rome to study biblical theology. “Linguistics is one of my interest areas. I love seeing how God communicates himself to us through human language.”