DANBURY—“Always be obedient to the holy restlessness that has brought you to this day,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano before ordaining James K. Bates to the priesthood this morning at St. Joseph Church in Danbury.
The 11 am Mass was an occasion of joy as priests, friends and family members gathered to celebrate the ordination of the 56-year convert to Catholicism who grew up in Brookfield.
“Do you know him to be worthy?” the bishop asked to begin the ordination rite.
After an affirmative answer the bishop said, “We choose James our brother for the order of the priesthood,” and the Church broke into prolonged applause as James Bates beamed standing before the congregation.
In his homily seated in front of the altar, the bishop thanked Fr. Bates for responding to the call to priesthood.
“Today we celebrate the remarkable journey of your life that has brought you to us,” the Bishop said to Bates who worked as a Systems Engineer for Pitney Bowes before converting to Catholicism and discerning a vocation.
The bishop said that Fr. Bates’s journey toward the priesthood began with his baptism when the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit” touched his life.
Referring to the autobiography of St. Augustine, the bishop said that every human heart is restless for the truth and that each person has a different path toward God.
“Never forget that at the heart of each priest’s life is the Eucharist. There is no more sacred duty. Become the living bread to your brothers. Wrap your life around the one sacrifice of Calvary,” the bishop said.
Noting that priests are called upon to live sacrificially, the bishop said Eucharist gives the priest strength to lead a life of prayer and service to others.
“As you and I become less, more grace is unleashed and the world grows in sanctity,” he said. “Make the Lord visible through your priesthood.”
At the end of the ordination rite the bishop presented Fr. Bates a paten holding the bread and chalice containing the wine mixed with water.
“Receive the oblation of the holy people to be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate and conform our life to the mystery of the Lord’s Cross,” the bishop intoned to complete the rite.
The newly ordained Fr. Bates then joined him in the liturgy of the Eucharist and distributing Holy Communion.
Twice during the rite the more than 40 priests in attendance came forward; first in the “laying on of Hands” to bless Fr. Bates, and again after his anointing to give the newly ordained the fraternal kiss of peace.”
Jennifer Marazzo, sister of Fr. Bates, and Ashley Citron, his niece, served as gift bearers, while the readings were handled by family members Joseph Marazzo and Christopher Marazzo.
After Mass bishop thanked Fr. Samuel V. Scott, pastor of St. Joseph Church, for helping to nurture the vocation of Fr. Bates who attended St. Joseph as his home parish. A reception was held in the St. Joseph School hall.
The beautiful music, including antiphons and songs in English and Latin, was provided by The St. Joseph Parish Choir under the direction of David Baranowski, and Ensemble “Tolle et Lege” directed by David J. Hughes.
The ordination program distributed to all in attendance concluded with this quote from St. Jean Eudes, “The priest is the living image of Christ in this world, of Christ watching, praying, preaching catechizing, working, weeping, going from town to town… suffering, sacrificing Himself and dying for the souls created to His image and likeness.”