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Two men ordained to priesthood for Archdiocese of Cincinnati

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Archbishop Dennis Schnurr leads the congregation in applause as ordinands Jerome Richard Bishop and James Steven Romanello are introduced Saturday, May 18, at The Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains in Cincinnati. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)

By Eileen Connelly, OSU
The Catholic Telegraph

During a Mass that was both reverent and joyous, two men who have completed their studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary were ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains on April 18.

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr ordained Father Jerome Bishop from St. Teresa Parish in Springfield, and Father James Romanello from Holy Trinity Parish in Norwood. Concelebrating the Mass were Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer, Bishop Emeritus of Marquette James H. Garland, Father Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh, seminary rector, and priest faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. Family members, friends and well wishers filled the cathedral for the occasion.

The Rite of Ordination took place after the Gospel reading as the candidates for the priesthood were called forward to express their readiness to be ordained. Father O’Cinnsealaigh presented the candidates to Archbishop Schnurr and testified to their worthiness. The archbishop then announced his consent to ordain the candidates and led the congregation in a round of applause.

As he began his homily, Archbishop Schnurr spoke of the “undeniable sense of joy and accomplishment that colors today’s ceremonies. We feel; we rejoice in it. Yes, I would say that our spirits soar! Perhaps that is because we recognize years invested, demands made, and goals achieved. And yet, we see more. As we celebrate ordination to the priesthood today, we are conscious of the fact that our brothers, James Romanello and Jerome Bishop, have heard God’s call in their lives, and they have remained faithful to the call which they heard even before they entered the seminary. By their response in their lives, they keep alive the words of Christ, uttered to the first disciples, which invite them just as firmly: “As the Father sent me, so I send you.”

Addressing the candidates, the archbishop continued, “Jim and Jerry, I know that you would be the first to agree that this day, on which we celebrate fidelity to the call of Christ, [that this day] belongs to the entire church in southwest Ohio. For this reason, we gather in the cathedral church of the archdiocese. Families and parishes, school children and your brother seminarians and the priests, whom you will now call brothers, welcomed, adopted, and supported you. They were the prayers and voices that faithfully kept those words of Christ alive in you. As they all rejoice with you today and offer prayerful congratulations, let them know of your gratitude, especially your own family members to whom I also wish to express gratitude in the name of all members of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.”

Archbishop Schnurr went on to remind the ordinands of the message of Luke’s Gospel that their focus each day must be twofold: 1) on Christ Jesus, in whose person you teach, sanctify and serve — “do this in memory of me” — and 2) on the people of God to whom you are sent as the “one who serves.”

“May Mary, the servant of the Lord, and mother of priests guide you in your service and fill your hearts with love, as now we proceed to ordination surrounded by the prayers and good wishes of all God’s holy people,” the archbishop said in conclusion.

Following the homily, the candidates prostrated themselves before the archbishop while the congregation sang an ancient prayer of the church, asking the saints to pray for God’s blessing on the men. The archbishop then laid his hands on each of the candidates in silence, an action followed by the concelebrating priests. This ancient sign has been used throughout the church for the conferral of ministry.

After a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for the gift of ministry to the church, the newly ordained were vested with the eucharistic garments of their office: the stole and chasuble. This was followed by Archbishop Schnurr anointing the palms of each new priest with holy chrism and saying, “The Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, guard and preserve you, that you may sanctify the Christian people and offer sacrifice to God.”

Then, presenting the paten of bread and chalice of wine to the men, the archbishop said, “Receive the oblation of the holy people, to be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery the Lord’s cross,” after which he and the priests in the sanctuary welcomed the newly ordained into the order of presbyters.

The new priests also received their first assignments during the Mass. Father Bishop will serve as parochial vicar for St. Susanna Parish, Mason, and Father Romanello as parochial vicar for St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish. The assignments begin July 1.

As the liturgy ended, the congregation prayed the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Vocation prayer together, asking God for “the grace to know the path you have planned for us in this life and to respond with a generous ‘yes.’”

The Mass was followed by a reception hosted by the Serra Club in the cathedral undercroft, giving Fathers Bishop and Romanello the opportunity to greet those in attendance and express their gratitude for the prayers and support of family members, friends and all who have been part of their journey to the priesthood.

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