SAN ANTONIO • Father Antonio González Parangueo was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, on May 18 at St. Dominic Church.
Concelebrants included Father Jeff Pehl, the priest faculty of Assumption Seminary, and 30 priests of the archdiocese, while deacons of the Mass were Deacon Francis Oyenkouzuru and Deacon Scott Imburgia. Vesting clergy included Msgr. Carlos Dávalos, Msgr. Patrick Ragsdale and Father Eric Ritter, pastor of St. Dominic.
Following is the homily given by Archbishop Gustavo at the liturgy.
This is a day of great joy for the church of San Antonio. For, in the presence of those who have nurtured and supported this candidate over the years — his family and friends, seminary faculty and staff, the parishioners whom he has served, and the priests of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, I will ordain Deacon Antonio González a priest. Mi gratitud y cariño para la familia de nuestro hermano Antonio, con mucho gusto en nombre de Jesucristo y de su glesia lo ordeno como sacerdote de Cristo. !Gracias sean dadas a Dios! Thanks be to God!
My brother, Antonio, perhaps you think that I should be grateful to you for answering God’s call, and, as your archbishop, I am very grateful to you. But it is God who has taken the initiative and led you all the way to this sanctuary this morning. It is true that your journey has been long and filled with so many experiences of God and God’s people.
Yes, you have heard the call, “ Follow me.” and you have responded positively, generously, unselfishly. But, really, God has been doing most of the work in your vocation. You have acknowledged this by choosing the first reading from the Book of Jeremiah. Listen to God’s words again: “I formed you … I knew you … I dedicated you … I appointed you.” God has done most of the work. When the Lord says he “knows” you, he means he knows you personally, intimately. You are in a covenantal relationship with him through the sacraments of initiation — baptism, confirmation, Eucharist — and through the sacrament of orders. The Lord has “dedicated” you, set you aside for his own purposes — as a celibate minister. Today he has “appointed” you to be a priest — committed to proclaiming his word, celebrating the sacraments, ministering to his people as a servant-leader. God has taken the initiative; he has done his part.
But he does not impose himself on us. He leaves us free to respond, and you have responded a few moments ago to the call: Here I am. I am present. I am ready! But, perhaps, you are a little bit hesitant about saying a full and total “Yes” to God’s call today, as was Jeremiah. “Ah, Lord God, I know not how to speak; I am too young.” Antonio, you can forget about that approach. It won’t work for you! Jeremiah was probably only a little one, a teenager when God called him to be a prophet. However, it is natural and understandable that we are aware of our limitations. This reminds us, as it did St. Paul, that it is God’s grace working through our weakness — through earthen vessels — that achieves more than we can ever imagine in the lives of others — the lives of people we serve. As Paul says: “Since we have this ministry through God’s mercy, we are not discouraged.” NEVER! Nada te hará desistir de éste llamado y ministerio, es decir del sacerdocio. NADA, NADA, NADA. Dios te cuidará y dará lo necesario para ser fiel. Juan Pablo II decía con frecuencia, SER FIEL! Te acuerdas cuando decía de México: México siempre fiel!
God responded to Jeremiah’s hesitation with a promise to be with him always. The Lord makes that same promise to you today. The Lord will never abandon you! He will be at your side in good times and in challenging moments — sharing your joys and helping you carry your burdens. If you allow him, the risen Lord will walk with you along your priestly journey day by day, year by year — throughout your priestly ministry. Tu vida es de Cruz y será de Cruz. Esta es la vida del cristiano y más del sacerdote. No se diga del Obispo….
You already know this. The path to this day has been long and, at times, difficult. There have been many obstacles. There will be many more in the future. God has blessed you with many people who have helped you to arrive at this moment, and many more will walk with you along your priestly pilgrim way. You have faith! You are a man of prayer, a faithful servant as well as a creative artist! Allow these gifts to form you ever anew as a priest after the manner of the Good Shepherd. Te he llegado a conocer y se que tu camino ha sido de humildad y concentrado en la confianza. Dios, Dios, Dios. Que te puedo decir yo. Sigue en ese camino que sí lleva a la santidad y a la vivencia plena del sacerdocio de Cristo, la humildad y la confianza. Estas dos virtudes llevan a la vivencia plena de la obediencia. No estamos para hacer nuestra voluntad sino la voluntad de Dios que es la mejor.
At the Last Supper after Jesus had shared his own Body and Blood with his disciples, a dispute arose about who among them was the greatest. Jesus responded that the greatest was the one who serves the others — as he himself did throughout his ministry and in the supreme moment of giving his very life for his flock.
Antonio, the most effective, satisfied priests I know are those who carry their authority gracefully, without trying to lord it over people. They realize from their own prayerful reflection, that, if they have any authority at all, it is the authority of love, Christ’s love. They root themselves deeply in this love and seek to lead their people by serving them in the spirit of the risen Lord. Be imitators of them; let the Good Shepherd be the model for your priestly ministry. El Buen Pastor no puede sino llevarte a ti y a los que tu conduzcas al agua de vida, a la vida eterna. La imagen del Buen Pastor llenará tu vida, no podrás vivir sin El y para El y a su vez para ellos, tus hermanos. Se Buen Pastor, se bueno, se guía, se líder, se desde El. Jesús, Jesús, Jesús, el Buen Pastor. Que tu vida sacerdotal sea una constante transformación en Jesús, el Buen Pastor, que da su vida por las ovejas. Ahora llamo al Espíritu Santo, ahora pido la asistencia de los santos y santas de Dios en tu favor, y a San Antonio le encomiendo tu vida y ministerio. Ellos los fieles te inviten a ser fiel, fiel, fiel.
And so, my brother Antonio, relying on God’s grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and calling upon the intercession of all the saints in heaven, we affirm your response to the Lord’s call: Come. Follow me! May Our Lady of Guadalupe, la Morenita, watch over you and nurture you with her maternal love. María, amalo como amaste a Jesús, acompañanlo en cada acción de su vida sacerdotal y dale la gracia de la perseverancia final. Necesitamos sacerdotes santos y santos hasta el final, hasta el final. May the Holy Spirit be the guide, the consolation, the advocate of your life today and always!
After the homily came the election of the candidate. Archbishop Gustavo accepted the candidate — Deacon Antonio — for ordination after hearing testimony from Father Pehl. The assembled people of God responded, “Thanks be to God,” and offered a standing ovation.
At the promise of the election, the elect came before archbishop to declare before the people his intention to be ordained to the order of the priesthood and to manifest his commitment to the service of God and the church.
Prior to the litany of supplication, Archbishop Gustavo prayed, “My dear people, let us pray that God the all-powerful Father will pour out abundantly the gifts of heaven on this, his servant, whom he has chosen for the office of priest.”
Following the singing of the litany of the saints, the archbishop intoned, “Hear us, we beseech you, Lord our God, and pour out on this servant of yours the blessing of the Holy Spirit and the power of priestly grace, that this man, whom in the sight of your mercy we offer to be consecrated, may be surrounded by your rich and unfailing gifts. Through Christ our Lord.”
At the laying on of hands and the prayer of ordination, Deacon Antonio went to the archbishop and knelt before him. Archbishop Gustavo put his hands upon his head, without saying anything. After the archbishop placed his hands, he said the prayer of ordination. This was followed by the anointing of Father Antonio’s hands and the handing over of the bread and wine. Following Communion, an original meditation song by Maryann Valerio, “Mi Vida Te La Entrego A Ti,” was sung.