This Sunday we have been blest to share in Jesus Christ the gift of now Fr. Michael Lombardi’s ordination to the priesthood. How blest we are as a parish to host a First Mass of Thanksgiving for a newly ordained priest and to receive as parishioners his first blessings.
First blessings are blessings of a newly ordained priest within the first year of his ordination. I remember very well giving my first ever blessing as a priest. It was to Bishop William Murphy who ordained me on this day 6 years ago. I will never forget that moment nor blessing my parents for the first time.
I have been reading a book titled Priestly Fatherhood by Father Jacques Philippe. His books are truly graceful reads. They are succinct and deeply substantial. He states how as Catholics we go to priests to request blessings.
A request for a blessing is valid, first, because it is not a man’s blessing that the people are seeking but that of God, the Father of Heaven, and second, because this request manifests an attitude of humility on one hand ( I am not self-sufficient, I need the blessing and the grace of God in my life), on the other hand it shows simplicity and trust.
Even though it is the priest who is doing the blessing it is truly a blessing not of a man but of God. Although it not a sacrament, we need to receive a blessing from the Father that is given by the Son in whom the priest is consecrated to.
On Wednesday, June 23rd, Father Michael Lombardi will go to his assigned parish. He still does not know where he is going and neither do I. Before he goes, I hope you have the chance to receive his First Blessings. It is a pious tradition of when one receives a first blessing from the priest to kneel and after he gives his blessing to kiss his consecrated hands. Don’t forget to sanitize.
As a parish we give our prayers and gratitude to Fr. Michael Lombardi as he begins his priestly ministry. May Fr. Michael be forever conformed to Jesus Christ the High Priest.
How appropriate that Fr. Michael’s First Mass is celebrated on Fathers’ Day! Special blessings to all of the Fathers of our Parish on this Fathers’ Day.
In Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Jeff Yildirmaz