DARIEN—“It is a blessed day for all of us as you have come forward to say yes to this great calling that God has given to you,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano to the newly ordained Father Michael James Vian Clark, ordained to the priesthood today at St. Thomas More in Darien.
“It is a testimony to your humility that you have lived this great adventure of your life to get to this point,” said the bishop in his homily. “You have always followed His lead.”
Bishop Caggiano said, “Michael’s fidelity and journey reminds us that every single one of us is a pilgrim on a journey that the Lord leads us on.”
“As we gather here in faith and as you begin to live this next chapter it is going to be your life in ministry that will lead many other pilgrims to Christ and to glory,” the bishop addressed Father Clark. “You, Michael, will be a guide to many on their pilgrimage.”
The bishop reflected that we live in a time of great challenge in the Church but he encouraged Father Clark to “seek heroic holiness” in his life. “Because it is only the light of holiness that will lead others to know who He really is,” said the bishop.
The bishop complimented Michael on being a man of great faith and great generosity, adding, “For those who have more, more is expected. But the Lord will be there to help you face any challenges that may come your way,” the bishop said. “Continue to be who God has asked you to be and you will bring many to Him.”
“Christ will allow you to be His vehicle so He can break into this world in the most intimate way possible,” said the bishop.
“For you have been chosen to be sacrificed in sacrifice, to lead others to sacrifice, for the one Lord who has sacrificed Himself to set us free,” the bishop addressed Father Clark.
“I have come to know you as a simple, humble man,” said the bishop. “Continue to lead in that way so that others may follow you without fear.”
The bishop quoted soon-to-be canonized Blessed John Henry Newman, saying, “If we are called to great ends then we are intended for great hazards.” He encouraged the newly ordained priest, “Do not let the challenges disturb you, you have Christ to be your advocate every moment of your life. Keep your eyes fixed on the great ends God has in store for you.”
The principal concelebrants of the Mass were Father Paul Check, Father John Connaughton, Father Marco Pacciana, Father Peter Lenox, Father Anthony Doe and Msgr. Paul Murphey. Deacon Timothy Bolton and Deacon Gauthier Vincent were also part of the ceremony. Patricia A. Catino and Lisa L. Von Stuelpnagel brought up the gifts and Liz C. Sweeney and Barbara J. Ferrone were readers. The Seminarians of the Diocese of Bridgeport were servers at the Mass and music was provided by the ensemble Tolle Lege and David J. Hughes, director and organist, along with the St. Thomas More parish choir and Galen F. Tate, director and organist.
Father Clark will celebrate his first Mass at St. Joseph Church in South Norwalk on Sunday, October 13 at 10 am. Father Peter Lenox will be concelebrating the Mass, along with Msgr. David P. Charters and Father Anthony Doe.
At the end of the Mass of Ordination it was announced that Father Clark’s first assignment will be at St. Thomas More in Darien, which was met with much applause from the congregation.