By Seth Gonzales
The Texas Catholic
As a standing-room only congregation at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe looked on, Bishop Kevin J. Farrell ordained four men to serve as priests in the diocese of Dallas on May 21.
With the addition of Father Paul Bechter, Father Emmett Hall, Father Ignacio Olvera and Father Daniel Rendón, the Diocese of Dallas is now home to 74 diocesan priests serving 69 parishes. Of those priests, 22 are retired. There are also 73 priests in the diocese who belong to a religious order.
While Father Hall and Father Bechter formed the contingent from Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving, Father Olvera represented St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston and Father Rendón represented Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
Citing Jesus Christ’s prayer for his priests in the Gospel of John, Bishop Farrell implored the four new priests to mold their lives and hearts after the man to whom they have now dedicated their lives.
“It is a prayer at the heart of Jesus Christ,” Bishop Farrell said. “He prays that you will always be faithful to his word and what he is calling you to do. It is a prayer that should be meditated upon by every priest at least once a week.”
Bishop Farrell said the priesthood is ultimately a grave responsibility because the priest is Jesus Christ’s representative in the world. When people see a priest, he said, they must receive a glimpse into the life and heart of Jesus Christ.
“That is the most profound and most important fact of our ordination,” Bishop Farrell said. “When people come looking for a priest, they are not looking for the person. They are looking for the image of Jesus Christ.”
That image, Bishop Farrell said, should always reflect the mercy and compassion of Jesus Christ in everything a priest says and does. Acknowledging that it will be tempting for the newly ordained priests to get caught up in worldly pursuits and place themselves in various factions of the church, Bishop Farrell urged them to remember the real reason for their ordination.
“We are ordained to bring the love and mercy of Jesus Christ to the people,” Bishop Farrell said. “We don’t belong to Ignatius. We don’t belong to Francis. We don’t belong to the chancery on Blackburn Avenue. We don’t belong to institutions or organizations. We belong to Jesus Christ, the church and to the people.”
Having been in Rome over the course of their seminary training, Father Bechter and Father Hall are slated to return to the Eternal City to complete their studies in Sacred Scripture and Canon Law, respectively. On June 15, Father Olvera will begin serving as parochial vicar at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, while Father Rendón will step into the same role at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Farmers Branch.
Bishop Farrell thanked the parents and family members of each newly ordained priest and pleaded for the congregation to continue praying for more vocations to the priesthood. Family life, he said, plays a defining role in the life of the church through its ability to foster vocations to the priesthood.
“Vocations are born in the family,” Bishop Farrell said. “God may instill the seed in the heart, but unless that seed is cultivated it never becomes a plant. That seed is cultivated, first of all, in the family.”
Find video coverage of the ordination Mass on our Facebook page.
Find additional coverage of the four new priests and each of their Mass of Thanksgiving in the May 27 print edition of The Texas Catholic.