Six men ordained to the sacred priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Louis were called upon to serve as “bold prophets of God’s love” as they begin their service to the people of God and His Church.
Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski conferred the sacrament of Holy Orders upon Fathers Charles Archer, Mitchell Baer, Joseph Detwiler, Edward Godefroid, Jonathan Ruzicka and Ryan Truss May 29 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
“In a world still dealing with effects of COVID-19 virus, divisions of so many kinds and lack of the sense of the sacred, it is necessary more than ever to be bold prophets of God’s love in witnessing the divine healing power bestowed by God upon His people,” said Archbishop Rozanski, at his first ordination of archdiocesan priests since coming to St. Louis in August of 2020. “As priests, dear brothers, you will forgive the sins of the repentant, counsel those who are lost, anoint those who are in the throes of illness and bring the Eucharist to God’s people as they gather for Mass.”
With a promise of obedience to the archbishop and his successors, the priests have made a commitment to serve as “in persona Christi” — in the person of Christ — through worthily living out the office of the priesthood through teaching the faith, faithfully celebrating the sacraments, sharing God’s mercy with the people entrusted to their care, and above all, to become more united with Christ every day of their lives.
All six said they are answering an invitation from the Lord to bring Him to the people. Through ordination, they in a sense take on a new identity as they configure themselves to Christ and bring peace and the truth of Christ to others, helping them to encounter Him in a personal way. The six new priests said there are signs of hope for the Church.
“That should give us tremendous hope that God is still providing His people with these men — with these priests — to go into the depths of human misery, the depths of the darkness of each human heart that we all have, and to bring light and to bring truth,” said Father Jonathan Ruzicka.
“It’s about all of us here as a Church together celebrating the triumph of Jesus in this day,” said Father Mitchell Baer.
The Mass was a joy-filled occasion as many priests, deacons, religious and laypeople filled the pews; it was the first major liturgical celebration in the Archdiocese since the lifting of COVID-related guidelines at Masses. Joining Archbishop Rozanski at the ordination Mass were Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Robert Hermann, Archbishop Emeritus Robert Carlson, Auxiliary Bishop Mark Rivituso, and Bishop Edward Rice of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, a St. Louis native and former vocations director for the archdiocese. After Father James Mason, president-rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, presented the candidates to Archbishop Rozanski, the entire cathedral basilica erupted in sustained applause.
Answering the call to the priesthood entails a demand of “single-hearted service, a healing presence and the unity that is promised by Jesus to His faithful ones,” Archbishop Rozanski said in the homily. In the first reading from Isaiah, the messianic prophet was called to “encourage the people of God at a difficult period.” Facing exile, they needed to hear words of hope and assurance that God never forgets His people. “To those who felt abandoned, these words engendered a hope that seemed to be lost and encouragement to a people in the midst of despair.”
“In the love of the Lord Jesus as a Church, we confer this sacred ordination upon Charles, Mitchell, Joseph, Edward, Jonathan and Ryan,” Archbishop Rozanski said. “May Jesus, whose love for them have called them to serve as His priests in His Holy Church, continue to inspire them in love and joy and they minister to His people, the Body of Christ here on Earth.”
After Mass, the new priests processed outside the cathedral basilica, where Archbishop Rozanski announced their first parish assignments. They are:
• Father Ryan Truss, Sacred Heart Parish in Valley Park
• Father Edward Godefroid, St. Charles Borromeo in St. Charles
• Father Joseph Detwiler, Queen of All Saints in Oakville
• Father Charles Archer, St. Peter in Kirkwood
• Father Mitchell Baer, Ste. Genevieve in Ste. Genevieve
• Father Jonathan Ruzicka, St, Joseph in Imperial, and part-time chaplain at St. Pius X High School in Festus