Cardinal-designate Robert McElroy highlighted God’s love as the Good Shepherd as he ordained two men to the priesthood at St. Gabriel Church on June 24.

The two — Brad Easterbrooks, 37, and Guillermo “Memo” Hernandez, 30 — were joined by their families, friends, dozens of priests and members of the Catholic community who nearly filled the ornate church.

Before beginning his homily, Cardinal-designate McElroy pointed out that Archbishop Timothy Broglio, of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, was present, along with Auxiliary Bishops John Dolan and Ramón Bejarano.

“This is a unique moment in the history of our diocese,” the cardinal-designate said.

“Solomon seemed to teach us that the baby cannot be divided in two. But we have found a way,” he said as many chuckled.

He explained that Easterbrooks was serving in the Navy when he entered the seminary. Under a joint agreement, the diocese and the archdiocese shared in his formation and will share in his life as a priest.

He will first serve in the diocese, then serve the military with the archdiocese, and then return to the diocese.

“I welcome half of you Brad,” the cardinal-designate joked. “The archbishop will have to welcome the other half. But I welcome you entirely Memo, because you’re all ours!”

He noted the distinct paths that the two men took to say “yes” to the priesthood, then began his homily.

The first reading at the ordination was of the parable of the Good Shepherd (Ezekiel  34:11-16), who cares for his sheep, and seeks out and brings back to the flock the one that has strayed….

This summer, Father Easterbrooks will serve at Holy Trinity Parish in El Cajon and Father Hernandez at St. Jude Shrine of the West in San Diego. Both will return to Rome to finish their studies in the fall.

The above comes from a June 27 story in the Southern Cross.