“This is a glorious moment to become a priest of Jesus Christ.”

That’s what Bishop Robert W. McElroy told the two men he ordained in a Mass on June 5 at The Immaculata parish before their parents, a handful of friends and a few priests.

Traditionally, hundreds attend ordination Masses and the celebration afterward, one of the diocese’s major events annually. County health orders to slow the spread of COVID-19 made such a gathering impossible for the 2020 ordination, which instead was live-streamed.

The diocese also live-streamed the ordination of seven men to the permanent diaconate the next day, also held at The Immaculata.

In the ordination of the priests, the bishop noted in his homily that the two men had already spent time in one way or another serving others. Raymond Philip Cerezo Napuli, 30, had served as director of music at the Newman Center. And Manuel Marcelino del Río, 39, had enlisted in the Marines and afterward served as a fire department paramedic.

Some people would say that it’s a hard day to be ordained, the Bishop said. “But I say to you that this is a glorious moment to become a priest of Jesus Christ because times such as these reveal potently that the priest must stand alongside his people in their suffering, condemning structures of sin and racial prejudice, helping to forge a world in which the Gospel values of justice, compassion and peace trample those of inequality, hatred and division.

“Today is a glorious day to be ordained a priest of Jesus Christ because in our priesthood we preach that hope can never be extinguished nor dimmed by any pandemic, hatred or fear.”

Full story at The Southern Cross.