Last Saturday I attended the priestly ordination of one of my good friends from NJ, who was one of 18 men to join the priesthood in service to the Archdiocese of Newark. The Cathedral (which is one of the most beautiful in the country) was absolutely packed, and I got to run into other friends I hadn’t seen since my move to Pittsburgh three years ago.
I love ordinations. I love the pageantry of it: the incense, the choir, the processions. I love seeing guys I knew as seminarians in college walking down the aisle towards the new ordinandi as seasoned priests themselves. I love getting to see these new guys in action, giving up what the world calls a normal life (a 9-5 job, getting married, raising kids, going into debt) in order to listen to – and carry out – the mission that God gives us of loving His people fully. I love to see their listening really meant something: that they loved God enough to put aside what they wanted for their own lives. Because although it’s such a joy to serve God in that way, it’s a sacrifice for so many of them.
The ceremony was wonderful, but clocking in at just about three hours, it was long. And although we got there before it all started, it was standing room only for us and about a hundred people. And although I used to work at the ordinations every year as the PR Specialist for the Archdiocese and knew how long they would be, I had somehow forgotten that and developed the good idea to wear high heels.
You know, you try to be a girl, for just a day, and…ugh.
But hey: one of the best things about Catholicism is that you can dedicate any type of suffering you’re going through as a way to help others, known as “offering it up.” The thinking goes that for all the suffering you endure, you can use your sacrifice to gain graces for others, to relieve their suffering. [I’ve read about Catholic women going epidural-free during labor and offering up their crazy-intense labor pain for someone else. Yeah, I probably won’t be doing that.] So as I stood there with my husband and another friend, my little piggies swollen and overheated, I decided to offer up my foot pain for Bob, that he’d be a great priest and would serve God’s people well. It didn’t count if I told anyone, so I stood in silence, trying to shift my weight from foot to foot every few minutes.
I made it for about an hour, after which I broke down and slipped out of the shoes, standing with my bare feet on the cold marble floor for a bit. I don’t know how long that translates into Grace Time, but hopefully I’ve bought him enough credits for a Good Priest Hour. Maybe it’ll kick in when he needs it the most, like on a mission trip or during an hour of prayer, and not when he’s sleeping or on vacation or whatever.
But even so, I think it’d be worth it.