Congregation of Holy Cross and the Notre Dame Community celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Orders
The Most Reverend Arthur J. Colgan, C.S.C., D.D. Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General of the Diocese of Chosica (Peru) conferred the Sacrament of Holy Orders on four members of the Congregation of Holy Cross on Saturday, April 10. On the day before Divine Mercy Sunday, the four men were joyfully welcomed into “a great band of men” and a tradition of “invisible brotherhood,” as the Constitution of the Holy Cross states.
While capacity at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart was limited, family and friends of Rev. Felipe Campos Reséndez, C.S.C., Rev. Robert Lisowski, C.S.C., Rev. Geoffrey Mooney, C.S.C., and Rev. David Smith, C.S.C. were allowed to participate in the Liturgy of Ordination in-person on a rainy South Bend afternoon.
Characteristic of the communal spirit of the Sacrament, multiple members of the Church offered testimonies recommending the ordination of their respective friend and Deacon. In his homily, Bishop Colgan underlined the common theme of the testimonials: the primary duty of priests to preach the good news. He noted: “Your sponsors have all recognized your gifts in preaching the homily.”
All four men were praised for their abilities to connect with members of their communities and to proclaim the Gospel with reverence, love, and profound knowledge. In addition to the necessity of being both a preacher and hearer of the Word, the Bishop ultimately stressed the need for the ordained men to possess integrity and sincerity in order to help restore the image of the priesthood.
In celebration of the tradition passed down from the Apostles, the pinnacle of the Liturgy occurred when Bishop Colgan and more than sixty Holy Cross priests laid their hands on the heads of each of the four men. Soon after, the newly ordained priests changed into their vestments, were anointed with the blessed oil of chrism, and found their new seats behind the altar among their fellow priests.
This ordination was the culmination of more than seven years of formation and half a year in diaconate placement after professing final vows in September 2020. A few weeks ago, in final preparation for ordination, the then soon-to-be priests reunited and participated in a week-long retreat to reflect upon the beauty of their respective ministries as well as what was to come.
The years of prayer, discernment, and growth have certainly left a mark on the newly ordained priests. Fr. Robert Lisowski told the Rover before his ordination: “We certainly aren’t the same people that we were when we started off… For all those years, it was years away and now it is just a matter of hours away. It is certainly a little surreal, but I have full confidence that God has invited me to do this”. Fr. Robert had been considering the priesthood since he was seven years old, and is thrilled to fully join the community of Holy Cross priests and continue his ministry as the beloved Admiral and Rector of the Baumer Buccaneers.
When reflecting on his journey, ordinandi Fr. Geoffrey Mooney told the Rover, “These days find me full of gratitude and appreciation, especially for the ways that family and friends, teachers and students, coworkers and parishioners, and so many fellow pilgrims and seekers reveal to me the face of God’s love.In many respects, my ordination is not about me or “my” priesthood at all, but rather it is a celebration of the People of God who have raised up certain individuals, trained them, formed them, and loved them to become priests after Jesus Christ himself.” Fr. Geoffrey will continue his ministry at Christ the King Parish in South Bend and hopes to help his parishioners better see the ways in which God shows Himself in their lives.
St. John Vianney Parish in Goodyear, AZ has the privilege of Fr. David Smith’s continued presence. Fr. Smith ministered to the parish as a Deacon since September, and will return now as a newly-ordained priest. He has been greatly involved with the school community, RCIA programming, and, as representative of St. John Vianney Parish Carmen Hernandez stated, “makes Christ present through his service and giving himself through humility and caring.”
Fr. Felipe Campos’ ministry will continue as an integral leader at St. Ignatius Martyr Parish in Austin, Texas. In their testimony, the Ochoa family from St. Ignatius Martyr Parish describes Fr. Felipe as someone with an “attentive and welcoming spirit…meeting us, whether young and old, where we are and inviting us to Christ.”
While Saturday marked a joyful and formal end to years of training and discernment, the work of priesthood is just beginning. The four men now embark on a new and often challenging vocation that, as Bishop Coglan remarks, “is not a privilege, but rather a call of humble service to others.”
Nico Schmitz is a freshman originally from Pasadena, CA now living in Cleveland, OH and majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies. If not reading in CoMo or trying to convince others that Baumer Hall exists, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.